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THEN:  The teenager in Lebanon gets impaled by Jack; Nick gets killed by Jack; Mary gets killed by Jack.  Dean says, “We fight.”  Cas says, “I failed you; I failed Jack.”  Dean tells him he should go to heaven and get Mary back.  Jack tries to bring Mary back – spell casting.  Lucifer (or Jack’s mind-created image of Lucifer) talking to Jack.  The burning pyre.   “It didn’t work.”

NOW:  The bunker is filled with lots of strangers  dressed in rough work clothes – these must be the surviving AU hunters.  They are sipping from open bottles and talking quietly and respectfully.  Mary’s picture in a frame and other mementos are on the lighted map table.  Dean, flanked by Cas and Sam, comes through a doorway and stands in the entrance, a few steps above the map room.  Dean thanks the hunters for being there, saying that, while she was family, “her family went beyond just us.”  He mentions how they fought with her both in the AU world and on hunts here, saying that he and Sam had gotten a second chance to get to know her.  They’d gotten to know her as more than just a mom but as someone who was tough, strong, stubborn, opinionated, skillful, able to handle their old man.  He jokes that she couldn’t cook, then, holding up his bottle, says,  “Mom, you weren’t here long enough, but we’re so glad for the time we had.  Goodbye, Mom.”  Sam echoes quietly, “Goodbye, Mom.”  Everyone drinks to Mary.  Suddenly a machete smashes in the head of one of the hunters.  He stands for a moment, eyes wide, blood spilling from the ax embedded in his skull before collapsing to the floor.  AltBobby enters in his plaid shirt and ball cap.  He smiles. 


Title:  Jack in the Box

A hunter drags the body out of the room.  AltBobby remarks offhandedly that the guy was a wraith, perhaps there to gloat at Mary’s wake.  Cas says that Mary would have liked that there was a monster at her funeral.  AltBobby asks Sam how he’s doing, and Sam says that it’s tough.  AltBobby’s eyes go to Dean elsewhere in the room, talking to a hunter:  “And the other one?”  “Dean seems to be doing OK,” answers Sam, “but it’s hard to say.”  “Maybe he’s like me,” observes AltBobby.  “Teary in public is not my style.”   Dean  is putting away Mary’s photo and the other items out for Mary’s memorial.  Sam wants to talk, but Dean asks, “Isn’t that what we’ve been doing?” and walks out of the room, leaving Bobby, Cas, and Sam. 

Sam sits at a table looking at the old, creased photo of Mary with young Dean and baby Sammy.  Cas is sitting across the table from him.  AltBobby enters and jokes about how the brothers were actually good-looking when they were young, but the conversation switches to serious because AltBobby wants to know what exactly happened.  Just then, Dean appears in the doorway, and they stop talking only to insert an awkward, “Hey.”  To Sam’s surprise, Dean is planning on going out.  He knows they need to talk about Jack, but they can do that later.  After he exits, AltBobby gets to the point:  he liked Jack, but they know there’s only one way this ends.  Cas nods; they need to find Jack and help him.  AltBobby looks at him with shock:  if his human side has burned away, all that’s left is Lucifer.  An unstoppable monster that doesn’t know right from wrong needs to get put down – or as close to that as they can.  AltBobby is going to call some hunters he knows and head out after him.

In a quiet factory, Jack is sitting cross-legged in a hallway; he looks very alone.  His mind is replaying memories of Mary, especially her last words and his growing frustration with her until he exploded.  He’s upset and begins rocking back and forth.  His face crumples:  “I wish you were here, Mom.  I need you to tell me what to do.”  Suddenly, on a walkway over his head, Lucifer appears, leaning on the metal railing and grinning.  “I’m the next best thing!”  “You’re just in my head!” rails Jack.  Lucifer says he’s the part of Jack that tells him the truth, but also says that he’s real, that he’s locked in his head and heart forever.  He knows that Jack wants to reconcile with Sam and Dean but tells him that he’s a monster to them.  Jack desperately claims, “I’ll explain!  They’ve made mistakes too!”  Lucifer leans in close and personal:  “They HATE you!  They won’t even want you for a pet.  You’re all you’ve got.”  Then he leans back with a chuckle:  “You and me!”

The front of the Impala gleams wetly in the dark, glistening with dew.  She’s parked in the woods; through the darkness , the leaves glimmer wetly.  Dean is sitting nearby, quiet and desolate, crying silently, eyes laced with grief and pain.

Cas stands in one of heaven’s pristine halls.  He tells Duma that he wants to see Naomi.  Duma calmly replies that Naomi is unavailable.  The Empty entered heaven on her watch; now she’s in a cell.  Duma is now in charge of heaven.  Her words speak of humility and necessity, but her demeanor is confident and a bit smug.  When Cas tells her that he needs heaven’s help to track an archangel, she scoffs, knowing there aren’t any left, so Cas has to specify that he wants to find the nephilim, admitting that he’s powerful and dangerous.  However, Jack burned off his soul in order to save Cas.  He’s not with the Winchesters; instead he’s running, fearful of their fury.  But Castiel believes that he can be rehabilitated with patient molding and guidance.  Duma says she’ll see what she can do.

Sam is working on a computer in the bunker’s library when Dean comes down the entrance stairs.  “How you feeling?” asks Sam.  “What you doing?” deflects Dean, nodding toward the screen.  Sam has been trying to find Jack; they need to get to him before AltBobby and the other hunters do.  If they don’t, “Jack will kill them,” specifies Dean.  Sam says that he can’t stop thinking about Mom.  Most people only have hope and faith, but he and Dean – they know the truth, that angels and God are real, but Dean scoffs at that -- God’s just writing books in his underwear– but Sam earnestly conveys how Mom is in a great place, with their Dad.  If thinking about this comforts Sam, it doesn’t seem to do the same for Dean.  He just says, “There wasn’t enough left to even try to bring her back,” and walks away.

Jack is still sitting in the factory when Duma appears in front of him.  Her words are warm and reassuring, telling him it wasn’t his fault; he made a mistake.  Heaven knows!  “You have a glorious destiny!” Jack’s face immediately lights up.  “I do?” he asks eagerly.  Duma tells him to look at the world; once it had moral order:  God punished those who didn’t respect heaven.  But Jack can save so many people.  “You can make the world so much better!”  Then she adds that doing so will make Sam and Dean happy. 

On a cultured college campus, a professor sits at his desk in his study.  He’s a bit of a celebrity as the posters and displays on the wall demonstrate, showing best-selling books he’s authored about the weakness of religious belief.  Jack knocks and enters, Duma right behind him.  Dr. Tate is an atheist, who rejects God and heaven; in past days, he’d be called a heretic, Duma observes.  His ideas are an affront to heaven.  Jack eagerly asserts that he knows there’s a heaven because he’s been there; his grandfather is God and his father is Lucifer.  The professor, at first annoyed and confused at being interrupted by strangers, now thinks he’s dealing with a lunatic, but Duma isn’t done.  She tells him that heaven is not unreasonable.  She wants him to announce that he’s had a revelation, that his previous assertions are false, that God is good.  Dr. Tate shakes his head, reaching for his phone to call security, when Jack , simply by moving his hand, hurls the phone away and then turns the professor to salt.  He stands frozen by his desk, hand reaching out, mouth open in supplication, but features lost behind the grainy, grey, powdery substance.  Jack smiles.

Sam and Cas sit across from each other at a table in the bunker’s library; Dean is at the head of the table, leaning back against a table behind him.  Cas reports that heaven will help them find Jack, but Dean is suspicious.  Sam shares that he has found news – a professor was turned to salt.  Cas tells them that was like Lot’s wife in the Bible; she was punished by heaven.  No ordinary angel could do that.  But that’s not all, adds Sam, pulling up another news article.  A supposed faith healer fell into a crevice; the earth just opened her up, swallowed her whole, then closed above her.  She’d been under investigation for bilking her followers of money and setting up fake charities.  Numbers 26:10, Cas intones – it’s what happened to the followers of Korah (who’d stood against Moses).  So, observes Dean, either Chuck has come back – he laughs bitterly at that, adding, “That ain’t gonna happen” – or . . . “Jack,” says Cas.

In one of heaven’s spotlessly white hallways, Duma is talking with Jack.  He thinks Sam and Dean will be happy with how he’s saving people.  Duma has another idea for how he could help even more.  They need more angels.  Jack could take human souls, people who freely agreed, and make them angels too!  She smiles.  She directs him to heaven’s throne room, a simple room with a plain, high-backed white chair with a smaller chair to the side.  This is where his grandfather heard people pray.  “Focus; you’ll hear,” Duma tells Jack.  Jack sits on the throne, hands on the armrests, eyes closed, brow furrowing as he grows tenser hearing the murmuring voices:  “Please, God . . . please, God . . . Please . . . “

The final prayer continues clearly as the scene shifts to a church.  About a dozen people sit in pews while a blond woman in a pink sweater, pale blouse, and tan pants prays.  From behind, she looks a bit like Leah, the pastor’s daughter in “99 Problems” in season 5, but in the front you can see that she’s older.  She’s smiling and earnest, happily about to lead their Bible study and glad that the pastor planned to stop in later to talk about the book of Samuel.  Suddenly, Jack is there, a pleasant-looking young man walking down the narrow aisle of the church:  “Did you mean it?”  They’re a little confused so he asks if they meant it when they said they wanted to go to heaven.  They clarify that they do want that.  “You don’t mind becoming angels?”  The believers smile and nod.  “That would be a dream!” exclaims the sincere speaker sweetly.  “It doesn’t have to be a dream,” Jack informs them.  His eyes glow; lightning flashes.  The people grow tense and confused.  Jack himself begins to glow, then the shadow of his wings are seen outspread on the wall of the church behind him.  The people are awe-struck.  “Who are you?” gasps the woman, filled with joy and wonder.  “Come with me to heaven!” Jack invites.  Just then, a pleasant-looking middle –aged man enters the church from a side door, talking as he walks, ready to discuss Samuel, when he realizes that the people are all sitting still and frozen.  “I was just taking your friends to heaven to become angels,” Jack tells him with an open, happy look on his face.  “That’s not possible!” replies the pastor, concerned as he realizes that his congregation are frozen in place and unresponsive.  “You don’t believe?” asks Jack.  “I believe,” clarifies the pastor.  “I don’t believe in you.”  Jack flings that pastor to the ground without touching him, then recites, “He was eaten by worms and breathed his last.  The skin on the pastor’s face and hands begins to writhe, then pop open as narrow, dark shapes begin to protrude from the wounds.  They’re worms!  Jack gives him a smug look; the pastor’s eyes glance toward the pews which are empty.  Everyone’s gone, leaving the pastor alone on the floor.  He yells in agony.

The Winchesters in suits and ties and Castiel in his usual suit and tan trench coat enter a hospital room where Pastor Ames is lying, his head and arms wrapped in bloody bandages.  “They’re gone!” he says.  Only his eyes, nose, and mouth are free from the mummy-like wrappings.  “What happened?” asks Sam, but the pastor is reluctant to tell them.  The cops think he’s crazy.  He tells them that his people were taken to heaven to become angels.  When Sam shows him a picture of Jack on his phone, the pastor identifies him as the man in his church.  “He did this to you?” asks Dean.  “Worms!” says the pastor.  “He was carrying out heaven’s orders.  He said I wasn’t a believer.”  As they leave, Cas recites the same phrase Jack had said earlier – another Biblical curse.  Back in the hospital room, a worm begins to wiggle its way from between the pastor’s lips. 

Back in the bunker, Dean tells Sam that they don’t have a choice.  They have to stop Jack once and for all.  Sam says that he can’t be killed, but Dean says that he can be contained.  Dean takes Sam to a storeroom, turns on the light, and pulls a cloth cover off a large, rectangular shape.  It’s the Ma’lak box.  “Really?” asks Sam, but Dean says they have no choice.  Sam questions if they can force Jack inside, and Dean agrees.  That’s why it would have to be Jack’s choice to get in.  “He won’t!” replies Sam.  “He might,” says Dean, “if we can finish the spell to fix his soul.”  Sam tells him that there’s no spell to do that, and Dean responds that Jack doesn’t know that.  “You want us to LIE to him?” asks Sam in disbelief.  “I WANT Zeppelin to get back together,” Dean replies, tone serious, but this isn’t a want; it’s a need. Sam says that Jack will know, so Dean says that’s why it has to be Sam to convince him.  Jack wouldn’t believe Dean, but he’ll believe Sam. 

A homeless man warms his hands at a flickering fire.  Cas appears behind him:  “Aramael, open the portal.”  The ragged-looking man turns.  “It’s closed.”  “I was just there!” says Castiel.  “It’s closed to YOU,” the disguised angel clarifies.  “I am going to heaven,” Castiel states with determination.  “That’s what everyone thinks,” smirks the angel as an angel blade descends from his sleeve. 

Jack stands in the throne room of heaven, all the people from the church around him, staring ahead with peaceful, vacant smiles.  He puts his hands on both temples of each person and their eyes glow blue.  Suddenly, Aramael staggers into view, then falls to the ground, Castiel looming into view behind him.  “Good news!” says Duma when she sees him.  “I found Jack!”  Jack turns with a smile.  “I’m making angels!”  “A word,” Cas says to Duma, anger rumbling dangerously in his tone.  “NOW!”

In the bunker, Sam and Dean aren’t sure it will work, but Sam, seated at a table, begins to awkwardly pray to Jack.  In heaven, Jack hears and freezes.  “We’re your family,” Sam continues praying.  “Bad things happen.  We want to talk.” 

Cas is talking to Duma in the hallway.  “You’re using Jack to establish your own power!” he accuses.  “You’re stripping heaven of mercy.”  Duma disavows that heaven was particularly merciful before and claims that she’s saving heaven, saving the world. 

Sam keeps praying:  “We need to see you.  Our mom would want it.  Your mom would want it.” 

“He’s strong,” argues Duma.  “He’s a child!” responds Castiel.  “I can guide him!” declares Duma.    Sam is still praying.  Jack is still listening.  Cas tells Duma that he wants to take Jack.  This is when Duma plays her trump card:  Mary Winchester is in a special heaven with John.  Duma can take that all away.  Without hesitation, Castiel runs her through with his angel blade.  Her body falls to the ground, a dark splotch against the spotless white. 

In the bunker, Sam sighs, thinking his prayer ineffective, but there’s a sudden flutter of wings.  Jack is there, looking happy that they’ve called him.  “I heard!  I was so glad!” He tells them that he will purify the world and make more angels.  “I missed you guys!”  Dean is standing stiffly by the table, coiled tight as a spring.  Sam walks around the table toward Jack, positioning himself closer to the nephilim.  “I regret it, the accident,” Jack tells them.  He’s trying to be conciliatory, but every word he says comes out wrong to Dean who looks as if he’s about to explode.  When Jack says that Mary kept talking at him, Dean says, “Oh, so she made you do it?”  “I guess I snapped,” says Jack.  “It was all over!” “It?” asks Dean, “Being the accident?”  “I wish it didn’t happen,” says Jack.  “We understand,” Dean says.  “We forgive you.”  Sam adds some conciliatory words, and Jack tells them he wants things to go back the way they were.  “We were close to fixing your soul,” Dean says, “but we need to keep you safe.  You could hurt others.  You could have another accident.”  All through this conversation, Dean’s face is stiff, Jack’s open and yearning, and Sam’s awkward, twisting in painful attempts to smile.  He reaches out stiffly to touch Jack’s shoulder. 

They go into the storeroom.  Dean’s words are now more casual.  They show him the box.  “So you can’t hurt anyone,” Sam explains.  “I understand,” says Jack.  Dean is standing the end of the box while Sam is standing behind Jack.  “Ok,” says Jack, approaching and looking inside.  “Just hop on in,” Dean tells him.  Sam nods and smiles at Jack.  Jack pauses, but then climbs it.  He sits there.  “Not bad,” he observes.  “Told you,” Dean says.  “How long before I can come out?” Jack asks.  “Not too long,” says Sam.  “Jack, we got this.”  He smiles and nods.  “OK.”  He lies down.  Dean closes the lid, then begins to fasten the locks.  One, then two, then three.  The box is sealed.  Dean turns.  Sam looks at him with tormented eyes, then turns away, running his hands through his hair as he leaves the room.

Inside the box, it’s pitch black.  “You still there?  Sam?  Dean?” queries Jack.  He turns on the light of his phone, and it lights up his face with an eerie glow.  Jack gets a little panicky.  He continues to call for the Winchesters.  They’re in the hallway outside.  They can hear his calls. 

Dean pours them some whiskey in the kitchen.  “What do we do now?  Just go on?” asks Sam.  “If we have to,” says Dean.  “I don’t know if I can do it,” Sam tells him.  “This whiskey’s not half bad,” says Dean, holding up his glass.  Sam doesn’t appreciate his deflection.  Dean tells him that they always knew that trying to help Jack was a long shot.  Sam sighs. “Long shots are our thing.”

In the box, Jack grows more frantic.  He doesn’t like it in there.   Suddenly Lucifer is beside him, lying down next to him in an impossibly wider space, laughing about how he’s got to hand it to the Winchesters.  “They said I should trust them!” says Jack.  “Trust is a two-way street,” responds Lucifer, adding,  “You are screwed.” 

Cas enters the kitchen, a bit out of breath.  He tells them what Duma was doing and says they need to tell Jack.  “He’s safe,” Dean replies.  “No!” exclaims Cas, but Dean says that Jack will stay there.  Sam looks sadly at Castiel.

In the box, Lucifer is still cajoling the nephilim, asking if he’d gotten any specifics from Sam and Dean.  How long is he going to have to stay in there?  “You’re naïve, clueless, trusting.  They suckered you.  And why?  Because you’re not useful.  And you killed their mom.  This is it.”  Jack’s eyes glow.  The box shakes.  Lucifer laughs.  “That’s it?  You can do better.” 

Cas is angry that Sam and Dean have relegated Jack to a living death.  “He agreed,” Dean argues back.  “No, you’re manipulating him,” insists Cas.

“Bring it!” challenges Lucifer.  The box shakes more.  The sigils etched on the outside of the box begin to glow, then smolder, then burn.  The seals meant to protect and imprison are melting, gleaming with golden fire.  Lucifer laughs and laughs. 

“I wish I could forget, after what he did!” Dean is saying to Cas when the bunker begins to shake.  An alarm begins to sound,  objects are falling, the lights fail, and the hellish red glow of the emergency lights fill the room.  Cas dashes from the room, the brothers just a step behind him.  They run down the smoke-filled hallway and enter the storeroom.  It’s dark and filled with smoke; metal shelves are fallen and twisted.  The box is nothing but scrap metal.  Through the clouds of dust, a menacing black shadow appears.  Its eyes glow with deadly intensity.  “Jack?” questions Sam. 


Questions:  This is the second to last episode of the second to last season.  

  1. Duma tells Jack, "You can save so many others; you can make the world a better place."  Is this the world that Kelly and Castiel saw in their visions of Jack's future before he was born?
  2. When Jack appeared in answer to Sam's prayer, I expected Dean to explode.  Do you think his plan was justified (strategic? necessary?) or was it a manifestation of his grief and anger? 
  3. Why did Sam help trap Jack even though he didn't want to? Did you think he would go through with it?
  4. What did you think of how Castiel handled Duma's threat to destroy Mary's peace in heaven?
  5. How is Jack going to respond to Sam and Dean trapping him in the box?
  6. Are you excited for the season finale?  Why or why not?

Read more of Emberlast's amazing episode recaps and speculation questions! Visit her Author Page to get Episode links! Recaps for seasons 9 to 13 can be found on Bookdal's Author Page!