Then: multiple scenes of Gabriel as himself, in "Changing Channels", in the hotel facing Lucifer, as Asmodeus' prisoner, frying Asmodeus. There's a quick shot of Sam, as Lucifer's vessel, fighting to keep him contained, and a quick reminder of the danger in the Rift World, ending with Dean's explosive anger and frustration that ended last week's episode.
Now: The scene opens on the neon lights of a liquor store and a grimy alley in Central City, CO. A bearded man walks around the corner, drinking straight from the bottle, when minor key music begins to play. "Is that a saxophone?" I asked my marching-band-member daughter. Nope! It's a kazoo, being played by Gabriel, who slowly saunters into view. "Fenrir Orangebane," he says. The bearded man snarls. A green light flickers across his features, revealing a brief glimpse of a wolf. They face off. Gabriel has a white dress shirt, a long black coat, and a long sword like a katana. Claws descend from his opponent's fingers, and his teeth morph into wolf canines. They whirl into a fight, Gabriel, despite his playboy proclivities, holding his own, including an awesome face kick. He's got plenty of attitude too, as he whistles and calls, "Here, boy!" Fenrir manages to draw blood, but Gabriel whirls, his back to him, then stabs him backwards. Fenrir looms tall behind him, but collapses. Only then does Gabriel peel back his coat to reveal a copious amount of blood. He pulls out a paper on which are written at least three names: Fenrir, Narfi, and Sleipnir. He crosses off Fenrir.
Title - "Unfinished Business"
Sam is opening his duffle bag in a seedy but roomy motel room while Dean talks on the phone. Dean doesn't want Sam to unpack because they're not going to be there long, but Sam says that Rowena's spell says that Gabriel is either here in this town or in Texas. Dean is frustrated and kicks the bed, which promptly starts vibrating. Both brothers stare at it, then Dean kicks it again and it stops. "Bonus," he notes. Suddenly, there's a knock at the door. They reach for their guns. The door swings wide; from a hallway perspective, Sam is opening the door while Dean has both hands on his gun aimed directly at their visitor. When the camera angel switches, we see Gabriel: "Hey, fellas!" he says cheerfully, but he sags against the doorframe, blood all over his shirt.
In the Alternate Universe, Jack and Mary are talking strategy and reviewing past battles and achievements. Mary is worried that they are running out of room and supplies for all the survivors. Another soldier arrives to breathlessly tell them that the angels are leaving!
Back at the motel in our world, Sam is bandaging Gabriel who tells them that he knew they were tracking him with a witch's spell: her spell smelled like haggis. Gabriel wants to know if they have more of his grace; he'll recharge eventually, but an instant shot of revitalization would be nice. Dean says they're keeping it to open a rift into another world. "Cool," replies Gabriel carelessly, getting up off the couch to leave, but he's too weak to make it and collapses back onto the cushions.
Fenrir's dead body is lying sprawled in the alley. Two figures approach: a larger man and a smaller, slicker figure in a green plaid suit. They are Fenrir's brothers. The big guy tastes the blood on the ground and grunts, "Archangel blood." "Better call Father," states the smaller one, pulling out a cell phone.
A series of quick brief images in black and gray -- the barren AU world, utterly deserted. The view changes to Jack's face; he's envisioning the environment and says, "They're gone!" The worn human soldiers are worried at this development, but not Jack; "Michael is scared of me! We're winning!" Mary is cautious, but Jack is calmly confident in his power.
Gabriel is sleeping on the motel couch while Sam and Dean talk at the table. Sam is confused, but Dean is focused on one thing: they need to keep Gabriel because they need his help. Gabriel, however, who wakes up, doesn't want to help; he wants to leave. The potential danger from an AU Michael doesn't phase him. Then the door busts in: the two Norse brothers are standing in the door, looking scary. "Raspberries!" says Gabriel. A green light shows their hidden faces; Sleipnir is a horse. They are Norse demigods, Gabriel informs them. He hides while the Winchesters battle the intruders. Dean holds Sleipnir off with a wooden chair, but Narfi gets Sam in a chokehold. He's about to crush the life out of him when he pauses. A sharp point sticks through his chest: Gabriel has stepped out of hiding to stab him through the back. Sleipnir runs. Gabriel would like to stroll out himself, but Dean pulls out handcuffs. Gabriel isn't going anywhere.
In the bleak light of the gray AU world, a small group of humans explore the ruins of the church where Mary was held prisoner, claiming it "all clear." They approach the altar where they see a war map with toy soldiers arrayed on it. Strangely, they're all grouped in one place, distant from the church. They wonder why but are interrupted as other soldiers drag in a prisoner. "Look who we found in the dungeon!" They throw their prisoner onto his knees; it's Kevin Tran, the prophet. He defends himself when they call him a traitor. He'd had no choice; plus, God had chosen him. He'd believed Michael who'd said he wanted to save the world, but so many people had died. He couldn't fix the spell, so Michael threw him in the dungeon, but he's fixed it now. "What?" asks Mary. Kevin tells them what they've been afraid of: Michael will open a rift and go through it with his angel army to another world.
Back in Colorado, the Winchesters enter the hotel room where Gabriel has been cuffed to the room partition. They want answers. Gabriel says that the Norse brothers are really god-begotten monsters. In a flashback, we see Gabriel in fancy, decadent digs playing poker and drinking with all three brothers. "I thought there were porn stars," interrupts Dean. We see the scene again, this time with scantily dressed men and woman caressing the poker players. "I had it made," reminisces Gabriel, remembering himself with a woman as he disrobes. "Skip to the end!" insists Sam, though Dean looked like he was enjoying imagining the scene. So Gabriel obliges; his flashback shows him asleep in bed with three women. Then three dark figures loom over the bed, one with vicious claws. They throw a fabric inscribed with a sigil over Gabriel's face and drag him away to sell him to Asmodeus. Motivation? They were scared of Lucifer. Now Gabriel wants revenge. He wants to slaughter them all. Dean wonders if there are three brothers, why are there four swords in the case? That, reveals Gabriel, is for their father -- Loki.
In the AU, Jack wants to check out where Michael is, but Mary, afraid that it's a trap, wants him to wait. One of the soldiers says to let Michael go through the rift; at least he'd be out of their world! What about the seven billion innocent people in that world, Mary demands. She asks Jack to please wait for just a day. Jack is reluctant.
Dean drinks from his flask. "Isn't Loki YOU?" he asks. Gabriel says that the real Loki had put him in his witness protection program. They'd been friends since he'd come across Loki imprisoned in a cave with the poisonous snake dripping venom onto him. Gabriel had freed him. In return, Loki helped Gabriel avoid the complicated quarreling of his fellow angels. Gabriel became the Trickster, and Loki went off the grid. Dean points out that none of the near-miss with the Apocalypse would have happened if Gabriel had helped them. Gabriel insists he helped because he'd given them information. Dean would have liked more help. "You RAN!" he accuses. Now they're facing another apocalypse, and this vendetta of Gabriel's just isn't important. Gabriel's anger flares: he'd been tortured every day, he exclaims. He won't forgive. He wants his revenge for what was done to him. Killing Loki won't make it better, warns Dean. "I don't care," says Gabriel. Sam and Dean step out to talk privately. Dean tells Sam that revenge ends badly -- look at dad, look at him -- but Sam wants to help Gabriel. Dean is reluctant, but they tell the archangel that if he'll help them, they'll help him. Dean calls Gabriel Uma (after her character in Kill Bill). Gabriel shows them his kill list: two down, two to go. He's saving the dad for last after the seven years he'd endured. Dean thinks it's stupid, but Sam is on board with Gabriel's desire for vengeance.
Jack tells Mary that he's going, but Mary is worried about how strong Michael is. Jack isn't worried; he knows his own strength. Mary tells him that she's learned the hard way that when you run in blind, mistakes can happen. With her heart in her eyes she admits that she doesn't want to lose another boy. Compassionately, Jack reaches out a hand to her shoulder and reassures her he'll come back. They're suddenly interrupted by Kevin: "You can't go!" He rips open his shirt to reveal a sigil carved into his chest. He was supposed to wait for Bobby and more humans to gather. It's Michael's plan. He's following it because he wants to see his mom again. Mary's voice is gentle as she tells him, "Heaven is just memories. Nothing's real." "I don't care!" declares Kevin through his tears. He just wants it to be over. Jack tells him that his spell won't kill him; "Michael doesn't want to kill you," admits Kevin. "He wants to break you. Even if you win, you still lose." He slams his hand onto the sigil. A light flashes. The humans shrink back. Jack covers Mary with the shadow of his wings wrapped over her.
Sleipnir, the last surviving brother of the Norse demigods, walks down a hallway flanked by two henchmen in black suits. This is where Loki has holed up; he chooses a city, chooses a top floor in a sleazy hotel, then uses his power to renovate it into swanky accommodations until he's ready to move on again. Gabriel sneaks cautiously into the hallway. He's warned the Winchesters that HE wants to kill Sleipnir and Loki himself. He's flanked by Sam and Dean, wearing canvas jackets, plaid shirts, and jeans. Western-themed stand-off music plays in the background as Sam and Dean enter the elevator. Gabriel between them looks grim and decisive and deadly; Sam looks supportive; Dean looks annoyed. The elevator doors slide open, and they see their adversary with his muscle at the end of the hall. Gabriel snaps his fingers. The lights go out. Pitch darkness alternates with flashes of light as the Winchesters and the suit-wearing bad guys shoot at each other. Eventually, both henchmen are slain. When Gabriel brings the lights back up, Sleipnir is on his back on the floor at his feet with Gabriel's sword against his chest. "Please!" he says, but there's no mercy for him. Gabriel runs him through. Sam notices that Dean is gone. "Dean?" he calls. He knows his brother has gone after Loki. "No! He's mine!" exclaims Gabriel. Dean, with one of the swords from Gabriel's case, has found the penthouse doorway. He pushes it open with his blade. Loki, a mirror image of Gabriel, is sitting on a couch, calmly licking a lollipop. Loki tells Dean that he wants revenge on Gabriel for killing his father, Odin. That was LUCIFER who killed him, Dean reminds him, but Loki says that Gabriel had promised him that he'd stay out of heaven's affairs. The gods had gathered trying to find a way to survive during the imminent Apocalypse and ended up being slaughtered by Lucifer. During this discussion, Loki has been calmly removing his hat and suit jacket and rolling up his sleeves. Dean defends the choice Gabriel made, standing up for humanity against Lucifer, but Loki doesn't care. "He was my father! What would YOU do for your father?" Abruptly, Dean stabs him, but the gun passes straight through Loki whose image wavers and turns a little smoky. It's not the real Loki, only a hologram! Loki punches Dean. Dean slices his sword through Loki, but, once again, it was a futile move. In return, Loki decks him. Dean really doesn't think it's fair that a hologram that can't be injured can still fight back! Sam appears in the doorway and shoots at Loki, again uselessly. The trickster god disappears.
Loki and Gabriel meet in a hallway. Loki wants revenge too: "This is for my father!" He sends Gabriel flying, then kicks him and smashes him into the wall. The Winchesters appear in a doorway, but they don't rush to the archangel's rescue. Instead the katana goes sliding across the floor. Gabriel grabs it and places it against Loki's body. "You're a joke! A failure. You live for pleasure. You stand for nothing, and you'll die for nothing!" Loki blazes at him. Gabriel stabs him. Loki falls to the floor and lies there, still. Gabriel meets Sam's eyes; Sam nods his approval.
Back at the church, Jack's face is clouded with concern. The flashes of lightning that intermittently light up the ruined church reveal overturned benches and the bodies of the hapless humans caught in Kevin's suicide bomb. Jack is holding Mary in his arms. Her face is like alabaster; they are like a Pieta in reverse.
The same reflective music continues as we return to the exterior of the hotel where Sam is putting their weapons in the trunk of the Impala. Gabriel thanks them, then adds, "So, this other world Michael. How we doing this?" Sam is surprised: "You're not gonna trick us?" "Tricks are for kids," puns Gabriel. As Dean gets in the driver's seat, Sam takes a moment to privately ask the archangel how he feels. "Swell," he responds. "I'm a whole new guy." Gabriel's face turns serious as he gets in the back seat of the Impala.
Jack is looking sad, but Mary approaches him. She'd only been unconscious, not dead. He's discouraged that people he wanted to protect have been killed. Mary tries to encourage him, but he wonders what the point is if he can't keep the humans safe. Now it's Mary's turn to reach out a comforting hand to rest on his shoulder.
In the bunker, Dean sits at the war room table, pouring whiskey into a glass. Sam enters reporting that Cas is helping Gabriel settle in. "Great," Dean relies shortly. "Why did you go after Loki without us?' Dean says he saw an opportunity and took it; he was multi-tasking. Sam wants to explain that that's not what multi-tasking means but decides that's not the point. "This is a whole thing with you lately!" he states. "You sidelined me and went to the alternate world with Ketch." "I'm not going to apologize for protecting you," says Dean. "Remember the last Apocalypse? You died. And went to hell! I don't care what happens to me. But I care what happens to my brother." But Sam wants to clarify something: "We're going to do this TOGETHER! And if we die, we'll do that together." He exits the room, leaving Dean to smile pensively.
- Which Gabriel is your favorite - decadent playboy or fierce warrior?
- What are some other creative curses Gabriel could use to go along with "Raspberries!"?
- This episode referenced lots of past events. What canon references jumped out at you?
- Au Kevin sadly said, "Even if you win, you still lose" which reminds me of Dean's agonized outburst last episode about how something bad happens "every time." What examples of "even if you win, you lose" can you think of?
- What did Gabriel mean by saying he was a whole new man? Am I reading too much into this or does that sound ominous?
- In the last episode, Billie told Rowena that everything ends. In this one, Sam talks about the brothers dying together. Are the writers setting up the end of the show? How do you want the brother's lives to end?