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(Please note, this recap was written a few days before Two Minutes to Midnight aired.  So some questions I raised do get answered.)

Cranking out these recaps every week is proving to be a challenge. We’re getting down to the wire though so I plug on! Let’s get started. 
 
If there’s a profound weak spot to this episode, it all comes right here at the beginning. I know why it’s being shown, to show the dastardly plan of releasing the Croatoan virus one step closer to reality, not to mention that Pestilence is now walking the earth and causing some trouble, but compared to the rest of this episode it’s off. So, I’ll just burn through this part for now.
 
The setting starts at a lab and in a grand shout out to continuity, it’s the same folks that make Herpexia. That brings a smile to my face, for to me Sam squirming through that commercial makes my top ten funniest moments list.  Of course I then worry about the lab rats shown next to the sign and if they’re being infected. Moving on, two labcoats pontificate about if these epidemics were causing any real threat the vaccine would be given away for free. I think that’s Edlund working in a chance to get political, but he has a point. They’re rushing something to trial and there’s a janitor. He has a malevolent smile so he must be evil. He plunges a syringe in one guy’s neck and traps the other in there. The one dude’s eyes turn black, so this must be the Croatoan virus. He yanks away the other guy and blood spatter. Yep, it works.
 
Title card and the sounds of the lab rats screeching are what stood out for me. 
 
Sam and Dean are in suits playing the CDC agents this week. They must be in a clinic for there’s a bunch of sick people in there, including dude from last week that got the Pestilence mucus bath (still gagging!). They are with a woman and all three have surgical masks on. Sorry, but I’m not buying Winchester’s in surgical masks. It hides the pretty. Dean of course likes it, joking he’s the “king of pop.” I would have said Dr. Sexy MD, but that’s good too. Sam and Dean ask if the outbreak causes any aggressive behavior, aka homicidal tendencies, and get strange looks. Not Croatoan in other words. Let’s skip ahead a bit. Blah, blah, people are sick, blah blah, it’s just a lesser case of the swine flu, blah blah, 70 cases in a day and a half. Lightbulbs go off in Sam and Dean’s heads and Dean forgets that the other person can hear his low talk to Sam about how that’s when those statues started crying. They cover in a really lame way.

 
Okay, now for the good stuff. The brothers are in the Impala talking with Bobby on the phone. Bobby guesses it’s another “steaming hot pile of swine flu.” Sam is certain this is the work of Pestilence and Dean wonders why he’s dealing up swine flu when he’s got the Croatoan virus. Bobby doesn’t care what he’s doing, it’s the fourth town he’s hit that they know of and they’re still “eating his dust.” They might not want to eat that dust, it’s kind of nasty. There’s no pattern and they don’t know the next target.  Bobby tells them to hold on and wheels over to the desk and reads his map. As far as he can tell, he’s still heading east, so they should head east. â€œEast?” Both Sam and Dean reply. â€œBobby, we’re in West Nevada, east is practically all there is,” Dean says. You know what else is east? Detroit. I bet that’s coming up soon.
 
“Yeah, well, you better get to driving,” Bobby says. That doesn’t leave Sam and Dean all that happy. Then they get really miserable when they hear from the back seat, “Say, I’ve got an idea.” It’s Crowley! Our favorite gay trouble making demon. Dean slams on the brakes and the Impala goes spinning, and somehow Sam fights all the centrifugal force to grab the knife and plunge it…into the Impala upholstery?   NOOOOOO!!!!! What did the car do? Anyway, Crowley is not there and then knocks on Sam’s window. â€œFancy a fag and a chat?” Hee! Compared to angels, demons are just way more fun.
 
Sam and Dean get out of the car and Sam is raging! Dean’s much calmer but still not happy. Crowley understands they’re upset but wants to discuss it. Not there but…never mind, Sam needs to vent. â€œYou want to talk after what you did to us?” Crowley is incredulous, for he gave them the Colt. Sam accuses that he knew it would work against the Devil. Crowley denies, well more gives a diva-ish “Well, I never.” Sam rages on. â€œYou set us up. We lost people on that suicide run, good people!” Crowley accurately points out that who they take along for the ride is their own business. Then he tries to reason with Dean, pleading that they’re all in this together. Sam responds by taking another vicious swipe with the knife, but Crowley’s too fast and ends up behind Sam. Dean watches all of this with skepticism. He probably also sees the benefit of letting Sam get some of that rage out.
 

 
Sam pushes forward for more but this time Dean holds him back. He asks Crowley for one good reason why they should listen to him. He can give them Pestilence.  Judging by the looks on their faces, Sam doesn’t believe him but Dean is interested. Crowley claims he knows how to get him. Aw, you gotta love scheming gay demons. They always know when to give you what you want at just the perfect time. Sam turns to Dean with a “can you believe this jerk” attitude and is stunned to see Dean is taking him seriously. â€œAre you actually listening to this?” Dean shushes him with his finger and a calm “Sam.” â€œAre you freaking nuts?!” Sam yells. â€œShut up for a second Sam!” Come on Sam, he tried to be patient. 


 
“Shut up the both of you!” Crowley yells. Yeah guys, give the man a chance to speak. Crowley swears he thought the Colt would work. â€œIt’s an honest mistake. It’s all part of the learning process.” Nothing’s changed, he still wants The Devil dead. Oh, except one thing has changed, the Devil now knows he wants him dead. â€œWhich by the way makes me the most buggered son in all of creation.” Dean isn’t buying the sob story, and neither am I. Sam certainly is enjoying this tale of misery. â€œThey burnt down my house!” Nope, still no sympathy. â€œThey ate my tailor!” That should have warranted a couple of laughs actually. Dean’s eye roll is good though. 

 
Crowley goes on how for two months he’s lived under a rock “like a bloody salamander.” Still no sympathy. Every demon has his eyes out for him and now Crowley is the one raging. Sam and Dean just listen. â€œAnd yet here I am last place I should be, in the road, talking to Sam and Dean Winchester, under a freaking spotlight!” Which he promptly takes out with one wave of his hand. Aw, uptight demons can be so precious, can’t they? Sam and Dean calmly watch while Crowley pulls himself together. He pleads for them to come with him. â€œPlease?” Both brothers look at him skeptically and Crowley’s patience is out. â€œDo you want the horseman rings or not?” Dean is surprised. â€œYes, I know all about that, shall we?” Yeah, they’re going with him now. 
 
They go to an abandoned house that looks a lot like the one Sam and Ruby hung out in last season. Those cookie cutter demon lairs. Crowley is practically embarrassed, not happy about the single paned glass and the used contraception in the fireplace, which he promptly lights with his hand. For some strange reason, Dean is impressed with that. Crowley tries to complain about the water damage but Dean cuts him off. â€œNow how do you know about the rings?” Crowley has been keeping a close eye on them. Sam mentions they had hex bags which hides them from demons. Yeah, there’s also the carvings on your ribs, but I guess that’s not relevant. Crowley brings up the last time they met, their “first date” he had his lackey hide a tracking device in their car. A small coin that trumps those bags of bones. I guess that would mean their ribs wouldn’t hide them either, as long as they were in the Impala. Many fans since this aired have challenged this idea of the tracking coin, calling it implausible. I think it makes sense. It’s possible it’s a common trick of one demon, especially one as powerful as Crowley. Maybe they all can’t make it work, or never thought of it.

 
“It allows me to hear things too. And my, the things that I have heard.” I’ll bet! Especially since these two do 90% of their talking in the car. Crowley’s smiling, Sam and Dean are not. He knows that they want to cram the Devil back into the box. â€œCunning scheme.   I want in.” Dean doesn’t want to go there, for he’s still on the idea of finding Pestilence. Crowley doesn’t know where Pestilence is exactly, but he does know the demon that does. Ah connections.  It’s how you get far in life. He’s the horsemen’s “stable boy”, handles all their itineraries. He’ll tell them where “sneezy” is at. Dean wants to know how he gets him to spill. â€œNuts at his pay grade don’t crack. We get him here and I sell him.” Sam doesn’t buy “sell him.” â€œPlease,” Crowley says, “I’ve sold sin to saints for centuries. Think I can’t close one little demon?”
 
Cue to a rather intense meeting at the teaser company, Niveus Pharmaceuticals. The jerk talking, urging these people to get vaccines out before they are ready, is none other than Whitney from season one Smallville. I hated Whitney. He was whiney, boring, and anyone who dated Lana Lang needed their head examined (yes, even Clark). In this episode though, he’s awesome. Being evil does him some real good. Anyway, he’s one of those pushy jerks that I usually dream of neutering in the workplace with a letter opener. Others are playing Devil’s advocate, but he doesn’t care. The nation is freaking out about swine flu. That’s because the media, in conspiracy with Pharmaceutical companies, creates panic among citizens in the name of profit. Oh yeah, already covered in the teaser.
 
He demands supply and some underling, who I have pegged to be a red shirt now, tells him he’s doing his best. â€œWell, do the best of SOMEBODY BETTER!” Next scene underling comes into jerk’s office after being summoned, pleading to “Mr. Brady” for forgiveness. Mr. Brady? Is this some sort of joke? It’s a darned sick one. Ah yes, The Edlund. Brady doesn’t need an apology and in his slick used car salesman way tells this guy he’s needed for a new position in communications. Oh no, I know what that means. â€œYou ready to enter the cut throat road of upper management?” â€œAwesome,” the guy says. You stupid idiot. Brady pulls out the blood chalice, which I don’t think we’ve seen since season two and slices this guy’s throat good and fast. â€œWatch the shoes please,” he winces as he gets enough blood for the chalice and lets him drop to the floor. Since when have demons become such divas?
 
A handler with black eyes slides dead lackey out, streaking blood profusely along the carpet. I know demons are pretty talented, but even they can’t get a stain like that out. We’re looking at total replacement here. Brady, now at his desk with his blood sacrifice, tells the demon to get the rest later. Brady is so cavalier about all this, you know, like a normal everyday corporate dick. I honestly believe half of these execs are possessed by demons. The only explanation. Brady goes to his chalice and does his whole chanting in Latin. Suddenly flies start coming out of the blood. Must be Pestilence. Brady’s eyes go black and he announces with pride that the trials are going well, the results rather grotesque. Oh good, no use unleashing a virus that isn’t messy. Pestilence wants to know how soon. â€œDistribution of this scale, we do need some humans, we can’t possess them all and don’t even get me started on the teamsters.” Ha! Since I grew up in a union town, it’s so dead on that a wide scale evil plot could be slowed down by unions.  They slow down everything. Judging by Brady’s reaction and the increase in flies, Pestilence doesn’t like that answer. He tells him he’s doing his best. So what answer does he get? â€œYes sir. Do the best of someone better.” Ha! In your face! 
 
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Dean and Sam are packing a duffle bag. â€œWhy are we even listening to him Dean? This is totally insane.” â€œI don’t disagree,” Dean says, but keeps packing. I was hoping for Dean reliving his quote, “Well crazy is the only game in town.” Crowley enters. â€œOne big happy family, are we then? Fantastic.” Cheeky bugger. Dean asks if Crowley is ready to go, not in the mood for his having fun at their expense. Yes, he is, but then says “Sam, keep the home fires burning.” Dean is surprised to hear that and wants to know what he’s talking about. â€œSam’s not coming.” Okay, not that it takes a lot, but that gets Sam mad. â€œWhy the Hell not?” Crowley doesn’t hold back his opinion. â€œBecause I don’t like you, I don’t trust you, and oh yes, you keep trying to kill me.” That is some pretty sound reasoning.

 
Sam says this isn’t gonna happen. Crowley isn’t asking him, for he’s not invited. He’s asking Dean and wants to know what it’s going to be. Dean just stares at him. Sam goes back to Crowley satisfied and Crowley tells them “Gentlemen, enjoy your last few sunsets.” Dean struggles over what to and eventually gets out “Wait.” Crowley waits. â€œI’ll go,” Dean says and man does that rattle Sam. Crowley smiles in satisfaction. Dean walks by and one very hurt Sam can only stare in disbelief. Dean turns around, at least knowing he should leave an explanation. â€œWhat can I say, I believe the guy.” I would trust Dean’s instincts with demons, considering he’s been to Hell and all. Plus he knows he has nothing left to lose. Sam says nothing, hurt as can be, and then stands on the porch like an abandoned puppy watching them go. Aww, puppy needs a hug. 


















 
Luckily, we get to see right away how not well Sam is taking this. He’s sitting by the roaring fire, drinking a bottle of whiskey like it was water and talking on the cell phone. â€œAnd then, Dean just walks, right out the door with Crowley.” What’s really interesting is Bobby is on the other end, and he too is sitting alone in the dark drinking whiskey. Interesting little parallel there. It’s one of those little pieces of storytelling that’s so subtle we usually miss it. They both are alone and in a pretty dark place, physically and emotionally. â€œLook Sam, I got no love for demons, and yeah, this whole thing is crazy but, I don’t know, after a year of turning up ziltch many it’s time to get crazy.” Gotta love Bobby’s voice of reason. 


 
Sam accepts that to be possible and then decides this would be the perfect opportunity to bring up something that’s obviously been screaming in the back of his head. He asks Bobby if he remembers that time he was possessed. Um, how could he forget that Sam, considering he can’t walk anymore because of it. â€œYeah, rings a bell,” Bobby says. Remember Sam, ask a stupid question… â€œWhen Meg told you to kill Dean you didn’t, you took your body back.” Bobby points out it was long enough to do himself in. Sam wants to know how he did it. Oh, I see where he’s going.

 
Bobby suddenly doesn’t like this talk and gets worried on the other end. â€œWhy are you asking Sam?” Sam chugs more whiskey and gets to his point. â€œSay we can open the cage but then what, we just lead The Devil to the edge and get him to jump in?” Bobby isn’t sure. â€œWhat if you guys lead The Devil to the edge and I jump in.” You know, I’m sure some of us in over-speculation mode have said this as a possibility, but to hear Sam say it, it’s frightening. Bobby is scared, that’s for sure. Sam makes the pitch it’s just one action, one leap. â€œAre you idgits trying to kill me?” Bobby yells. â€œWe just got done talking your brother off a ledge and now you’re lining up to say yes?” Sam claims he won’t do it unless they all agree. Yeah, right! When push comes, you’ll shove, or Lucifer will right into your ginormo meat suit. 

 
Sam wants to look at their options. Bobby says this isn’t an option. â€œWhy not?” Sam asks. Ah, Bobby knows him a bit too well. â€œYou can’t do it. What I did was a million to one. And that was some piss ant demon I was brain wrestling. You’re talking about taking back control of Satan himself.”   Sam blatantly says he is.  â€œKid, it’s called possession for a reason, you of all people ought to know.” Yeah Sam, I didn’t see you taking control of Meg at all, even when you were trying to kill Dean. Sam thinks he’s strong enough. He is more powerful but wow, that’s a huge risk. Bobby pleads his case. â€œYou ain’t. He’s going to find every chink in your armor Sam and use it against ya. Your fears, your grief, your anger. Let’s face it, you’re not exactly Mr. Anger Management. How are you going to control The Devil when you can’t control yourself?” Sam, who’s really been chugging the whiskey by now, has no answer for that. Yeah, find that answer and…it’s still a crazy plan. Yet somehow I see him doing it, big time.  

 
 
Dean and Crowley are staking out the office building, and Dean notices the guards. He assumes they’re demons, but Crowley knows they’re human shields. The demons are upstairs. Dean wants to find a way in through the back. Crowley is unimpressed. â€œYou Winchesters make everything so complicated.” Dean looks over and not only is Crowley gone, but he’s inside slitting the throat of one of the guards. Dean freaks out and runs inside where Crowley has taken out both humans in gruesome fashion and is cleaning off his knife. Crowley doesn’t understand Dean’s outrage. He ignores it and takes him over to the elevator, claiming a tight schedule. Dean is still disturbed, looking at the dead bodies. â€œNow you’re squeamish?” Crowley says. â€œPlease.”
 
Crowley puts Dean into the elevator and presses 12, but doesn’t get in himself. â€œGo get ‘em tiger.” Dean stops the door from closing, surprised Crowley isn’t coming. â€œNo, it’s not safe up there. There’s demons.” Dean gets that. Crowley tells him to do what he told him and try to be convincing. â€œIt’ll work like a charm, trust me.” He pushes Dean back into the elevator and the door closes, showing Crowley through the glass on the other end waving with an encouraging look. From a demon? Oh, that can’t be good.   A rattled Dean stands in the elevator alone, checking his pocket, seeing he’s only got the knife as his backup. He rolls his eyes, accepting he’s screwed. Okay, this is ominous.



 
Next is Brady in his office, who hears the commotion outside. He raises his eyebrows and opens the door with a wave of his hand. There’s Dean, taking out one of his guards with the knife. â€œDean Winchester,” Brady says. â€œWhat, no appointment?” Dean walks in a little out of breath, claiming it’s an eleventh hour thing. That is very true. He wipes the knife on a nice jacket on the coat hanger and Brady even turns a seat around with his mind control for him to take. Dean still isn’t sure it he should be doing this. â€œHow’s your brother?” Brady asks. Dean doesn’t answer, putting the knife in his pocket (blade side up??) and glaring at Brady with discontent. He takes a seat. Yeah, he’s really out of his element.   Brady, with a fake corporate smile, asks “What can I do for you?” You know how many times a corporate manager has asked me that and then used my request to stab me in the back? Oh right, Dean. (must not be bitter, must not be bitter). 
 
Dean goes into the routine he obviously went through with Crowley. Dean says it’s about what he can do for him. He brings up and he and Sam dropped “two of his jockeys,” (yes Brady got the memo) and they kept their secret power rings. That’s why he’s there. He heard some folks say that he wanted them back and he was willing to pay. Brady wants to know where they are and Dean replies not there. If he wants them, he can come with him and they can discuss the transaction. Right, Brady is going to buy that! That’s why Dean realized he was screwed.

 
“Who says I want them?” Brady answers. â€œWhat?” Dean asks, not getting the answer he was expecting. Brady repeats, this time much slower for patronizing purposes. Dean rather unconfidently claims “You know, folks.” Brady continues to stare blankly and Dean gives a nervous smile. Oh boy, I think Dean has been setup. Brady gets up and moves closer to Dean. Even if he could cram the rings back on War and Famine’s bony fingers, it wouldn’t do any good. â€œThey’re withered husks right now, fetal position on the floor, all thanks to you.” He doesn’t want the rings. He wants retribution. â€œAnd I’m going to rip it right out of your ass!” Ha! Crowley sent Dean in there knowing all the demons wanted was revenge on him. He is evil!

  
Next thing Dean is flying out the door with a nice gash on his forehead. Brady pursues looking very satisfied. â€œThis is so good (kicks Dean), therapeutic for sure. You know Dean I really owe you one buddy because I feel so good.” He kicks Dean hard three times in a row and is obviously riding the adrenaline rush to its greatest pleasure. Dean rolls on the floor. He’s screwed!
 
After a commercial break, somehow Dean gets to the elevator. Of course all that happened off camera, so I’ll fill in the blanks. Brady’s blackberry goes off.  There’s an important message from the lab about the “trials.” He takes the call.  Dean gets his senses about him but in his flee finds the stairwell door is locked, or not there. Luckily he got enough of a jump where he can wait for the elevator. See, it all makes sense.  Dean gets on the elevator while Brady yells out to him they’re just getting started. Yeah, like he’s going to run from a demon in an elevator. Also, why don’t you have the knife handy right about now Dean? The knife that probably cut you up a little bit in your pocket while Brady was kicking the crap out of you.
 
Despite the logic of running from a demon in the elevator, this is a really cool shot and one Robert Singer has done before with great success. As Dean waits nervously in the elevator, the camera pans full circle on him, showing his panic from all delightful angles. It starts with a half circle and has Dean resting against the back of the elevator, in some huge pain, waiting with baited breath for the door to open. Then Dean moves forward and the shot goes another half circle, showing Dean getting off of the elevator from behind. That little camera trick really heightens the anticipation for what’s to come. Well done.

 
The door opens and the wide shot shows Dean stepping out of the elevator alone. He looks both ways, coast is clear. Then the shot closes in and Brady is right behind him. Yikes!    He smacks Dean and he goes tumbling forward. â€œGood meeting Dean, I’m excited.” He goes for Dean and suddenly a bag with a Devil’s trap is thrown over his head by Crowley and he pounds a crowbar into his skull, about ten times. If Brady’s host wasn’t dead before, he is now. He falls to the ground.

 
Crowley smiles at Dean, who’s having a hard time pulling himself off the floor. Dean wants to know what the Hell was that. â€œThat was perfect,” Crowley says. â€œPerfect?” Dean asks very unnerved. â€œHe didn’t want the rings, he wanted me.” â€œImagine the surprise on your face. Your ignorance and misinformation, I mean it’s completely authentic. You can’t fake that.” Dean isn’t happy. â€œWhat, it went like clockwork,” Crowley boasts. â€œNot for me you son of a bitch,” Dean replies. â€œThat’s what you get, working with a demon.” Sorry, I shouldn’t be laughing over this, but I am. Dean should know by now and I love that Crowley isn’t bashful about it.



 
 
The Impala thunders down the road and it just occurred to me we’re 31 minutes in and even though these scenes have been pretty rich in dialogue and character exposition, they haven’t been rich on plot. Ah well, I’m still enjoying this. Dean wipes the blood off his forehead while Crowley carves a symbol into Brady’s chest. â€œHey hot stuff, watch the upholstery.” Huh Dean? Sam just put a hole in it and you’re worried about what Crowley is doing? â€œUp yours, mate,” Crowley replies. What he carved is a binding symbol so Brady won’t be smoking out. It locks him in the meat suit, which is an important piece of their bargaining strategy. Crowley then states that they don’t want I-50. They need to take 93 North. Dean doesn’t get why. They can’t take Brady back to Sam. Dean has to demand an answer that Crowley is reluctant to give. â€œThey got history, alright?”  Dean slams on the brakes and demands Crowley start talking.

 

Focus on the whiskey bottle almost empty and Sam is sitting on the bed, wide and awake and as jittery as can be. Shouldn’t he be passed out drunk? Either his alcohol tolerance is that of Castiel’s or someone switched the alcohol content with caffeine. Either way, this is not the appearance of a man that’s been drinking heavily. I’m sure it’s also meant to show how he’s not sleeping. Sam hears the Impala pull up (who could miss that?) and looks outside. It’s daybreak and he’s apprehensive over what he sees.

 
Sam goes downstairs to see what’s going on. Crowley is at the bottom of the stairs and Sam asks about Dean. Crowley motions the other room and tells Sam for the record, he’s against this. He points out a high level defection like this is delicate business. Sam tries to go in the other room but Crowley stops him. He isn’t done yet. He admits he begged Dean not to come back for they should be miles away from him. â€œHe replied with a colorful rejoinder about my corn chute.” That gets a tiny laugh out of Sam! How cool. The proper reaction for once. It lasts only for a split second though before he goes back to sneering, but it’s something.

 
Crowley tells Sam to go ahead. â€œRuin our last, best hope.” Sam gives one more sneer and goes in. â€œIt’s only the end of the world,” Crowley has to add just so he can get the last words. Diva demons do that.   Dean is in there with Brady, who still has the hood on so Sam can’t see who it is. He’s tying him up to a chair. Sam looks at the captive and then Dean, who when finished comes over to talk to him. â€œWhat’s going on Dean?” â€œI need you to stay on mission, okay, focused.” Sam, a little worried, doesn’t know what this is about. Dean says he’s doing this because he trusts him, but that’s when Brady starts to stir. â€œSam? Sam, is that you?” Oh no. Sam is puzzled so Dean goes over and removes the hood. â€œBrady?” Sam asks. Yep, they know each other. â€œBrady hasn’t been Brady in years, not since oh, the middle of our sophomore year.” Sam’s heart sinks into his stomach.

   
“What?” Sam asks, now looking at Dean alarmed. â€œYou had a Devil on your shoulder, even back then,” Brady says. Sam takes this in and all sorts of things are going through his head. Brady knows the one thing that’s coming out of this. â€œAlright now, let it all sink in.” Now Sam is flipping the rage switch. â€œYou son of a bitch! You introduced me to Jess!” He charges after Brady, who’s got that whole evil demon smirk going and Dean holds him back. â€œDing, ding, I think he’s got it.” Dean fights to hold Sam back, but Sam won’t stop and is threatening to kill Brady. Dean drags Sam out of the room while Brady breaks into an evil laugh now.

 
Dean tosses Sam into the other room, but Sam tries another charge but Dean pushes him back. â€œHey, that’s enough!” Dean orders. Sam commands that he get out of his way. Dean says no so Sam repeats his request. â€œThere’s only one way to win and it ain’t by killing that thing in there,” Dean tries to explain. Crowley enters at this time. â€œWell, sounds like you’ve got him nice and fluffed. Thanks so much.” He leaves and goes into talk with Brady. Dean goes back for more logic. â€œListen to me, we need Pestilence to get at The Devil and we need Brady to get to Pestilence.” â€œWhy?” Sam asks. â€œBecause Crowley said so? Because we trust him now like I trusted Ruby? Or like I trusted Brady back at school.”
 
You know, I’ve heard the complaints how implausible it seems that there was an Azazel accomplice back then considering one was never mentioned before. Hey, sometimes little reveals like this are needed for the sake of drama for a show in its fifth season. I know its history rewriting itself, but it happens. I’m cool with it. What I’m not cool with? Dean looking at Sam like he has a point but this is different and says nothing. Why cut the scene there? Where is Dean defending his logic? So here’s what he said off camera. â€œNo Sam, we don’t trust Crowley, we don’t trust demons. But what choice have we got? We’re out of options. We’ve got nothing to lose.” You see, it works!

 
Crowley pulls up a chair and straddles it in front of Brady and I love this visual. The two of them in chairs face to face with that natural lighting coming through large the window. Great one guys! Crowley starts. â€œLook, do the math yourself. If Lucifer wins, he’ll turn this place into his kingdom. When the morning star cleans house, we all get the mop.” You know, I’ve read tons of material where Kripke has projected himself into the character Chuck The Prophet. I’m thinking Ben Edlund’s projection is Crowley. This dude’s dialogue, offbeat attitude, strange way of thinking, it’s got Edlund all over it. Okay, that might be a stretch given the gayness too, but Edlund’s always liked using homophobia as part of his humor.  Sorry, back to recap. Brady doesn’t see the logic since Lucifer created them, as in demons. Why would he destroy them? Crowley wisely points out to look at who, or what, he is and what they are. Listen to him Brady, those aren’t crazy colored eyes Luci’s sporting. Brady suggests that Crowley be a little less worried about their necks and be more worried about his.  â€œIt has crossed my mind, but it’s not really the point,” Crowley answers. That is the point actually. No one will know greater torment than him. He gets to live forever. Brady on the other hand, he knows he’s dead whether he tells him anything or not. â€œSo I’d rather die on the winning side, thanks.”
 
Crowley accepts reasoning with this guy isn’t happening. â€œGood talk. Cheers.” He leaves and joins Dean in the other room. â€œWell how’d it go? Did he buy Girl Scout cookies?” That’s one persuasive way to sell cookies. Those girl scouts do use similar tactics you know. Don’t let them in your house. â€œWhere’s your moose?” Crowley asks, noticing Sam isn’t around. Wow, Sam hasn’t been called that before. Talk amongst yourselves, which zoo animal do you think Sam would be? I’d say…moose. As for Dean? Howler monkey. Ha! Dean replies Sam is cooling off. Sure he is.
 
Crowley tells him to get packed. Dean wonders if he’s going somewhere. Brady won’t budge so Crowley is going to stick his neck out. â€œWhat are you going to do?” â€œExactly the kind of desperate swashbuckle I’ve been trying to avoid.” Drama queen! He’s going to kick up a hive of demons. Before going he stops and tells Dean, “This whole bloody ring business better work.” Gabe’s about the most reliable source I can think of. Better than you Crowley. Dean is in total agreement, looking down in fearfully over the alternative, which is death for everyone. He looks up and Crowley is gone. Wow, that one look on Dean’s face says so much! He’s really scared about all this. 

 
Again, I’m really enjoying this episode, but I’m not seeing the slow build up to the major conflict we get with many other episodes. It’s just slow. Granted I’ve seen really bad slow recently, so at least the character drama here is working. The dialogue is great too and this is so a setup for what’s coming. I’m okay with that. Dean is in the bathroom and the abandoned house has running water? Go figure. He washes his face, looks up in the intact mirror (?) and the bathroom door shuts. We see on the other side it’s Sam closing it. Sam wedges a chair under the door so Dean can’t get out. Oh that’s going to do a lot for the brotherly trust issues. Dean of course pounds on the door and yells, but Sam says nothing and pulls out the knife. Oh Sam, what are you thinking? Oh right, not thinking. Raging. 
 
Brady senses Sam approaching and realizes it’s time for a showdown. â€œWe doing last words or no?” Sam goes back to what’s bothering him, sophomore year. Brady talks about how “Brady” was a good kid, best friend, which made him a perfect point of access. Sam brings up Thanksgiving. That was when Brady came back from break all messed up, doing the whole dropping out of pre-med, the drugs, the bitches sort of thing. â€œThat was the new Brady, that was me.” Sam gives him that ultra freaking scary “if looks could kill you’d be incinerated” look. Yikes, remind me not to get on the bad side of him. 

 
“Remember how much time you spent trying to get me back on the right track? You really were a good friend.” Then Brady goes all evil again, mentioning how yellow eyes didn’t send him back to be his friend. They were losing him. â€œYou were becoming a mild mannered worthless sack of piss. Come on, we couldn’t have that. You were our favorite.” Oh no, that Sam Winchester rageahol starts seeping through. â€œSo I hooked you up with a pure, innocent piece of tail. And then I toasted her on the ceiling.” Sam is trying hard to control that internal rage, although judging by that tight grip on that knife, it’s one intense fight. Jessica is obviously a THE trigger. 

 
Brady goes on, because demons love to use monologuing to push buttons. Azazel put out the hit on Jessica, but he got to have all the fun. Oh no, Sam is not making it. Brady goes for the final jab, talking about how Jessica thought they were friends too. She let him right in, she was baking cookies.  The camera closes in on Sam’s pure face of rage now. Yep, he’s coming unglued. Brady laughs over how surprised and hurt she was and that’s enough. Sam charges for Brady and puts the knife up to his throat.   Brady challenges Sam to do it considering he knows releasing that internal rage only gets Sam ready for Lucifer. Sam trembles and then slices Brady slightly on the neck.  Brady challenges him to finish the job since he wants to die for the right cause, sending Sam to the dark side. Sam’s eyes and twitching says he wants to in the worst possible way, but he stops himself. Brady laughs as Sam leaves the room. Way to go Sammy! You’ll get to kill him when the time is right.

 
Dean is still in the bathroom pounding at the door to get out and Sam tells him he’s letting him out. Sam moves the chair and opens the door. Dean wants to know what happened and Sam says, “Nothing.” â€œMy ass,” Dean replies. Sam claims he’s fine but Dean is more concerned about Brady. He goes into the living room to see he’s okay and Sam agrees they need him. No more time for brotherly conflict for Crowley is there. His suit is dirty and torn up a bit. â€œGod, the day I’ve had.” Diva! He goes to talk to Brady. â€œGood news, you’re going to live forever.” Brady realizes Crowley did something bad, well for him anyway. 
 
Crowley went over to a demon’s nest and had a little massacre. He claims to be losing his touch though because he let one of them live. Brady isn’t happy. â€œOops.” He might also have given the surviving “toad” the impression that Brady left his post last night. â€œYou and I are, wait for it, lovers in league against Satan.” Brady is NOT happy, Dean is just stunned. â€œHello darling,” Crowley says. This is when Crowley sends Sam and Dean away, tips Brady’s chair over and proceeds to give him a little action in his own “corn chute.” Nah, Edlund wouldn’t go that far, would he? (**ponders**)
 
No, Crowley goes on. Death is off the table, Brady gets to live forever now too with him. That’s something else they have in common (“besides our torrid passion”) is our craving for self preservation. So he wants to know where Pestilence is at. Before Brady can answer, a hellhound howls. Now Brady is worried. Brady? Forget him. Dean is freaking the hell out. I guess that image of being eaten alive by one is still fresh. Crowley says it is and checks his pocket. Dean wants to know how that is a hellhound. Oops, someone slipped Crowley a coin, aka a tracking device. Sam confirms that a hellhound followed them. Crowley says they technically followed the coin. Yep, Dean is losing it now.

 
Brady says if they get him out of there, he’ll tell them anything they want. Sam tells him to shut up. Dean thinks they should go, but Crowley claims he knows more about the hounds than anyone and they’re long past the point of car. Crowley throws Dean the coin and disappears in thin air. They hear the hellhounds howl and NOW Sam gives him an “I told you so”? Not good timing Sam. Dean has the best response, a belittling “Well good for you.” Ha! Luckily, they have salt in the kitchen. Sam says he’ll watch Brady. â€œWatch me?” Brady says. â€œGet me the Hell out of here!”

 
Dean goes to fetch the salt but too late, the hellhound goes crashing through the window. Dean runs and closes the glass doors, but the hellhound bursts through that too. You should know that Dean! We see Dean’s distorted view from the hellhound’s eyes and then Dean fires at it. It slows it down enough for Dean to retreat to the other room. Sam is untying Brady. He realizes that Dean never got to the salt. Dean loads the shotgun as the hellhound looms and growls. Brady keeps whining about them getting out of there. Shut up you pussy! 

 
Suddenly Crowley yells at the beast. Dean acknowledges he’s back and Crowley says he’s invested. He tells the hellhound to stay. â€œYou can control them?” Dean asks. â€œNot that one,” Crowley says, pointing at the one near Dean. â€œI brought my own.” He pets the head of the invisible beast. â€œMine’s bigger,” he boasts. He tells his beast to sick ‘em and the two hounds have it out. Things are crashing around, blood spatters, claw marks are everywhere and it’s quite intense! There’s also another blood spatter shot on the camera lens, a la “Dean Men Don’t’ Wear Plaid.” Sam finishes releasing Brady while Dean scratches a break in the Devil’s trap. They run outside to the Impala where Crowley is already waiting for them but is only standing there smiling. â€œI’ll wager a thousand my pup wins.” They all get inside and Dean drives away in a hurry, not willing to take on that wager.
   
Our players are in an alley and Brady hands a paper to Crowley. He’s sure Pestilence will be there. Crowley reads the info and hands it to Dean. Dean asks what he thinks for he’s betting everything on Crowley being on the level. â€œIt’s good, Crowley,” says. â€œYou’ve got no reason to lie, have you? Like I said before, you’re in my boat now.” â€œYou screwed me, for eternity,” Brady replies, but technically he screwed him with his pants on, for eternity. Crowley assures it won’t last that long. â€œTrust me.” Crowley goes to leave and Dean follows with a can of salt so he can draw a salt line across the alley. Brady wants to know where Crowley is going. â€œI’m going to do you a favor.” Oh right, “Supernatural.”   This is how demons do favors. 

 
During all this Sam is standing there like a statue, one very cold pissed off statue, keeping his eyes and his mega frown square on Brady. Crowley goes up to Sam before leaving. â€œI expect we’ll be in touch.” Sam doesn’t move a millimeter like he’s lost in his own world of hatred and revenge. This is actually scaring the crap out of me. Crowley heads down the alley and slips by casually before Dean finishes the salt line. Dean lets him go through. Then we get this GORGEOUS shot of the Impala alone at the end of the alley. Actually, it’s more of a silhouette underneath the faint street light. Awesome! It’s like she’s there in ghost mode or something watching over the boys this time. Dean finishes the salt line, essentially trapping Brady.

 
So, if you’re going to do in a foe, what do you do? Why sick one horribly pissed off Sam Winchester on him, that’s what. I mean, what a setup! Let’s do the math. A salt line, a closed in alley, a sigil carved on the chest that prevents escape via black smoke, Dean playing fight coordinator and Sam the attack dog (or moose if you want to go there) in ready position with the demon killing ginsu. Even gladiators had better odds.

 
Brady wants to know what all this is and Dean starts since Sam is getting a little jittery waiting for his cue. â€œAll those angels, all those demons, all those sons of bitches, they just don’t get it do they Sammy.” â€œNo they don’t Dean.” There, he talks! Brady has a “give me a break” look on his face. â€œYou see Brady, we’re the ones you should be afraid of.” Oh, so this is an EXAMPLE killing. That makes it better. Brady laughs, not taking this seriously so Sam raises the knife and goes into ninja position. So Brady, being the typical arrogant demon he is, decides to taunt the freakishly tall dude with the knife that can kill him.
 
“I bet this is a real big moment for you big boy. It’ll make you feel all better.” Sam thinks it’s a start. Nope, nothing is fixing that giant chasm inside you Sam. â€œGonna make up for all the times that we yanked your chain. Yellow eyes, Ruby, me. It wasn’t all our fault was it, no, no, no, no, no. You’re the one who trusted us. You’re the one that let us into your life, let us whisper in your ear over and over and over again. Ever wonder why that is Sammy? Ever wonder why we were so in your blind spot? Maybe it’s because we’ve got the same stuff in our veins and deep down you know you’re just like us.”  So Brady, realizing Sam isn’t flinching or getting fighting mad, charges after Sam with a big yell. Sam slices him a couple of times and has him against the wall but Sam doesn’t kill him. Dean watches this with curiosity because he’s interested how Sam has done restraint so far. 

 
Now it’s Brady who’s raging. â€œMaybe you hate us so much because you hate what you see every time you look in the mirror, you ever think of that? Maybe the only difference between you and a demon is your Hell is right here.” Yep, that does it. Sam swings out the arm and plunges the knife in Brady’s chest. He sizzles out while Sam coldly watches him go. Then he pulls out the knife and Brady slumps to the ground. Yikes!
 

 
Then this scene gets even creepier! Sam looks at Brady like nothing has happened and says like he’s just had a discussion about the economy, “Interesting theory.” Over to Dean who’s pretty disturbed. I wonder if there’s more to that comment than meets the eye, like maybe Sam has figured out a way to control Lucifer too. Who knows? Sam calmly walks past Dean and down the alley like nothing has happened. Of course with this kill, Sam’s acting EXACTLY like Lucifer has so far, especially last episode. Cold, calculated, unmerciful, and it all ends without remorse. So not our Sammy. Or maybe this is the new Sammy. Hold me. I think Dean needs to be held too.

 
Oh, there’s some time left. You think we’re in for some warm fuzzies now? Everyone group hugs and it’s all better? Right. You know this show, and we definitely know Edlund. Bobby is on the phone with Rufus. There are nasty omens, but none of its “death with a capital D.” Instead of Bobby now telling Rufus to suck dirt and die, he’s telling him to watch his ass. I guess they buried the hatchet due to the whole end of the world thing. Suddenly behind across the room is Crowley. Hmm, what does he want? â€œChin up, cavalry’s arrived.” Bobby pulls out his old gun, like that’s going to hurt Crowley.

 
“Charming, that won’t work on me.” Oh, so Bobby doesn’t know he’s a demon. He introduces himself as Crowley. Bobby’s heard of him. â€œIn the flesh, of a moderately successful literary agent out of New York.” Bobby doesn’t want to hear it and shoots anyway!   Crowley realizes Bobby has heard of him and then complains that he likes that suit. Bobby asks what he wants. Why looking out for Crowley of course. Bobby still wants to know what that means. Crowley tells him “the boys” are after ring #3 but they still need #4. He’s there to help. Bobby puts down the gun and rolls forward.
 
“You know where Death is,” Bobby asks stunned. Crowley looks at him honestly. â€œNo, haven’t the foggiest.” So Bobby grabs his shotgun. â€œThen get the hell off my property or I blast you so full of rock salt you crap margaritas.” Well there’s the line of the night! Crowley calls Bobby unfriendly since he can have Death’s location before he goes for another load. â€œYou going to chat some demons up and hope they don’t recognize you?” â€œGod no,” Crowley answers. â€œThat could get me killed.” There is a little spell that he knows though, one that’s 100 percent guaranteed.

 
Bobby wants to know why Crowley is then “snake oiling” him.  Crowley calls it embarrassing for there’s this technicality. He needs a little something to get the magic going. Bobby wants to know what that is for he knows a catch is coming. â€œYou make a wish. I can give you anything you want mate, up to and including Death’s coordinates. All I need is...” â€œMy soul,” Bobby says. He knew it! â€œI’ve done more with less. Let’s just say when they’re getting their Grammys they shouldn’t all be thanking God.” Given the acts that win Grammys, I so believe that (I’m talking to you Jethro Tull). Crowley assures Bobby it’s worth it and tells him to think. Bobby does and says okay. â€œHere’s my counter.” He then shoots Crowley with the rock salt! Yeah, Bobby doesn’t like being forced into deals. Crowley falls backward and yells “Ow! Bloody Hell.” What a diva.
 
Bobby tries to go for the desk but Crowley is suddenly  there calling him feisty. He should have known that when he visited! Bobby grabs the gun and tells him to get out. Crowley promises to give it back and Bobby asks if he thinks he’s a “natural born idgit.” He acknowledges Bobby has the right to be suspicious, but he’s his ally. â€œEnemy of my enemy and all that. I need The Devil back in his stock. In fact, my delicate ass depends on it.” Now Bobby is starting to believe him. You see, it wasn’t just Dean! â€œI promise you, temporary loan. I’ll give it right back.” Bobby considers and cue credits.

 
So, hands up for those that think he says yes? Sorry, I should go the other way. That’s making too many people put in some effort. If anyone doesn’t think so, speak up! Hey, I hear those crickets chirping. That’s a wrap on another wise good episode that primarily exists to setup the final showdown to come. Now I want to see some Castiel! I won’t ask twice.      

Comments  

Tigershire
# Tigershire 2010-05-07 15:37
You know, in past seasons I would have been screaming at Bobby to say "NO" at the end of this episode. I'd worry until the next epi to find out what happens and if he said yes or not.

Now, I think I'm in th same mindset at the characters. I REALLY didn't want Bobby to say yes to Crowley but considering the situation and the immenent end of the season.......I sucked it up and accepted that he was probably going to say yes and even though I didn't like the option any more than he did, I can see that while Bobby still had a choice, the unpleasent one was likely to bear fruit.

What does it mean that the most shocking moment was Sam accidently stabbing the Impala's seat? Am I becoming jaded? Actually, not likley. I can just see the progression of the story line. And, for me it doesn't dimish my enjoyment in the show (thankfully), especially since I revel in the quality of the acting as much as in the story.

Nice recap, as always, Alice. :-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-07 16:05
Nice recap, Alice. I was shocked when Sam sunk that knife into the impala. Dean said nothing! I would have thought Dean would have had a fit! Sam and that knife are becoming quite a twosome.

Loved the screencaps of Dean and Sam when Dean agrees to go with Crowley. Crowley is a funny character, but tagging around with a demon has never been good for the boys.

Yes, I was suprised Sam was still awake after all that whiskey, maybe it takes two bottles to affect a moose! :lol:

There were definitely slow spots in it for me. I really would like to see more action. Miss that for sure!
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2010-05-07 23:41
I think I let out a little yelp when Sam stuck the knife by accident into the Impala. Dean must have been really distracted not to notice that!
That shot of the ghostly Impala in the alley was beautiful. Can't wait to see that image on the DVD without the CW logo marring the view.

Sam standing there in the alley, so silently imposing & ominous, gave me chills.
Randal
# Randal 2010-05-08 15:31
Don't get me started on Jethro fucking Tull. Did you really have to mention that travesty?

Hey, Grammy voters, arguably the finest metal album ever? Did I mention EVER? I know those awards are more worthless than a birdcage's used newsprint, but c'mon. Wankers.

The one danger in a show such as this (or the X-Files, to name an obvious example) when there's a heavy, consecutive dose of mytharc stuff, is that there will be slow spots for setting up the big payday, but since they were, as you pointed out, entertaining, I can certainly live with it.

Always easier to sell vast depths of offscreen stuff when it's a MOTW instead of The End Of The Freaking World®.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-05-08 19:41
Alice, loved this. This episode might have its weaknesses, but I loved it anyway. I seem to have a knack for the tragic, dark stories. Tell me about it.

The brothers' modus operandi is slowly changing, and watching their faces, it creeps me out - what might be going on in there? How can they stand it any longer? There were moments I just wanted to step into the tv and give them a hug.

I needed one myself.

The alley fight in the end kept me on edge long after it was over. Sam's slow advance on Brady, his trembling, yet decisive 'Start' was like a knife in my gut. 'INteresting theory' was another. Dean looking on was heartwrenching, with Sam walking to the car quietly, but there was that tension in his shoulders...

I made my bed when I began to love this show, but right now I feel like it's killing me. Ah, I wonder what being undead might feel like.#

Thanks for this amazing recap, dear. Love Jas