NOW: It's a dark night in Claremont, OK. A slight figure moves through the dark. It's Maggie. Surrounded by the chirps and whistles of the nighttime forest, she makes her way by flashlight across a narrow, wooden bridge and into an old cemetery. The cold, bluish beams of the flashlight fall on the gravestones as she approaches a stone crypt, the name Rawling inscribed over the doorway. She kneels to unzip her backpack, pulling out a video camera. She smiles into the lens as she records herself. She sounds both excited and nervous; she thinks she's after a ghoul. Pulling out a machete, she approaches the crypt and pushes open the heavy door. Slowly, she moves down the stairs, her flashlight lighting on a couple religious statues. There's a sound. She looks around nervously in the dark just before an old man in a suit and tie lunges out of the shadows toward her, his teeth bared.
Wings. Lights. Logo - Supernatural. Title - Nightmare Logic.
In the bunker, Sam is addressing several hunters gathered around a table in the library or war room. He's giving them instructions but falls silent as Dean appears in the doorway behind him. Sam dismisses them, and Dean jokingly calls him a camp counselor. They're interrupted by several chimes from Sam's phone. At Dean's questioning glance, Sam explains that it's hunters, checking in. "That's adorable," says Dean, but he quickly shifts from teasing to concern. Sam hasn't been sleeping; he needs rest. Sam says he can't. He's keeping track of 16 hunters, not counting Cas and Jack who are out together or Mary and Bobby, also out on a case. Sam doesn't want Dean to worry about him, but then he himself looks worriedly at his phone: Maggie missed check-in.
Sam is on the computer, and Dean is on the phone trying to track down Maggie. Sam pulls up Maggie's body cam footage. At first, it sounds like Dean will be disparaging but instead he sees the practical side of being able to see what another hunter was facing. On his screen appears the steps, the statues, the dark stones of the interior of the crypt, and then something comes lunging out of the darkness. When Sam slows it down, the Winchesters see the old man and his clutching hand. That's where the video feed stops. Sam is worried that Maggie is dead, but Dean stays positive, telling him that they will go out and bring her home.
Quick shot of the Impala traversing the countryside, then we're in the old cemetery, this time in the daylight. It's a private cemetery, only for the Rawling family. "Must be nice," Dean remarks, causing Sam to give him a weird look. The original story, the reason Maggie had gone there initially, was from some teens who'd been studying their when they were attacked by a walker. Sam explains that that's a zombie from The Walking Dead, and Dean mutters that he knows what a walker is. He kicks aside a couple crushed beer cans. "Studying. Right!" They enter the crypt, walking down the stairs past the statues, to discover drag marks on the ground but thankfully no blood. Dean keeps assuring Sam that there's definitely a possibility that the ghoul that attacked her might have kept her alive, but their discussion is cut short when a man shouts, "Hello!" from above. Sam exits the crypt, hands up disarmingly and smiling pleasantly as he faces an older African-American man in coveralls and a straw hat, eyeing him suspiciously but keeping his potentially dangerous, three-tined gardening implement over his shoulder. He tells them it's private property, and the Winchesters inform him that they're from the Historic Preservation Society. They want to see the house and talk to the owner.
A shorter, pleasant-faced young man in a dress shirt with a sweater vest greets them happily at the door. He's thrilled that people are interested in the history of the house, but he's confused as to why so many people needed to come. Dean and Sam follow him into the living room to see Mary and AU Bobby sitting there. Mary smiles; Bobby appears to glower. Sam attempts to cover up: "You should have checked in with headquarters." "We don't need permission, especially when headquarters is run by idjits," Bobby gruffly snaps back. Mary asks to speak to Sam alone and guides him out of the room while Dean turns to question Neal, the owner. Except he's NOT the owner! He's the nurse. The owner is an elderly man, lying comatose in a bed, surrounded by cords and wires and IV lines, surrounded by hanging bags of liquid.
In the hallway, Mary explains to Sam that she and Bobby had been guiding Maggie through her first solo hunt and admits "we should have called." Sam is about to demur, then stops himself.
Dean stares at the man in the bed and calls out to Sam. This helpless old man is the same man in the video. If he's here, then where's Maggie?
On that question, the scene changes to Maggie, scared and helpless, hands chained above her in a dark, old room, her bare feet swinging above the wooden floor boards. There's a glimpse of tubes and bags of blood hanging nearby. "Help me!" she gasps out.
Neal reveals that Mr. Rawlings had a stroke; the groundskeeper found him. Sasha Rawlings, the dark-haired, forty-something daughter, enters with groceries, confused and annoyed at the presence of strangers in her home around her father's bedside. She looks weary and does not want to deal with the historical society. She insists that they leave. Outside, by their vehicles, the hunters discuss how, whatever the monster is, it can't be a ghoul. No bite marks on the old man. A shifter? No. Maybe he's possessed, posits Sam, but Bobby harshly dismisses that possibility. He accuses Sam of recklessly endangering Maggie. A "real leader" would have seen that she's not ready. "Bobby!" interjects Mary. She starts them out to look for the monster; Sam will be with her, Dean with Bobby.
As Mary and Sam walk through the woods, Sam muses that perhaps Bobby was right, but Mary encourages him, saying that she sees that he's doing what he was born to do. It's too bad that Bobby can't see that. Then again, it's not all he's been missing lately. Sam has been aware that there's been something budding between his mother and the grizzled hunter from an alternate world, but Mary says that things have changed recently. He's been hunting all the time; something's on his mind. "Bobby's not open like your dad," she says, causing Sam to stare at her incredulously. She immediately backpedals, changing her remark to be about the John that SHE knew, not the one that raised her boys on his own. Bobby has walls, and she's not sure about breaching them. Sam says that their Bobby wasn't open; he'd had to kill his demon-possessed wife. He had put up walls for a reason, but if Mary cares about him, she should find out why. Their conversation ends abruptly as Mary notices something on the ground.
Bobby and Dean are also walking in the woods and talking. Dean tells him that Sam has been not just doing his best, but BETTER than his best, even with the Kenny Rogers beard - "no offense" he adds to the bearded Bobby. They see a dilapidated old cabin with gaps between the boards of the walls and small animal pelts inside. Behind them, a figure moves off through the trees and Bobby turns to follow. Not noticing, Dean enters the hovel. Glancing around at the detritus, he sees -- fingers?
In the woods, Mary unearths some IDs from a pile of wadded up, moldy clothing. There are several of them - different names, different organizations, same bearded, male face. It had to have come from a hunter, but he's not someone they recognize.
Back in the cabin, Dean moves some of the debris out of the way, revealing a dead body with the same face as on the IDs Mary had just found. He turns to speak to Bobby, realizing he's not there. Just then, the creepy old man grabs Dean. Growling menacingly, he throws him, but Dean stabs him with his machete, and the monster explodes into a fine-powdered dust. Bobby arrives at the door, eyeing Dean's dust-covered hair and jacket with an upraised eyebrow.
Sasha in a suit and glasses is sitting in her silent father's room doing paperwork when she hears a strange sound from overhead. When it continues, she goes out to the hallway. "Hello?" Slowly, she walks down the hall, then reaches out to open a creaking doorway. ROAR! A vampire lunges through the dark doorway at her. She screams and runs, stumbles and falls. Cringing on the ground, she covers her head with her hands, waiting for the inevitable attack, but nothing happens. She looks around. The horrifying creature she saw is gone. The house is silent.
Back in Mr. Rawling's room, Neal comforts Sasha who is terrified but lucid: "It looked like a vampire," she admits, adding, "I'm crazy." But when Sam assures her that she's not, she starts to wonder if it's her visitors who are crazy. "What are you doing in my house?" she wonders, astounded: "You hunt MONSTERS?" The nurse is sad that they're not really the historic society. Something is killing hunters, they realize. Mary goes to get Bobby, who'd gone out to the truck. Dean, who has arrived and is glad that they've had the "monsters are real" talk, isn't thrilled that a clone of her dad tried to kill him. They wonder where the groundskeeper is, but he's gone. They also wonder why Sasha is still alive. Vampires don't just leave their food like that. Neal and Sasha listen amazed as Sam and Dean strategize and postulate. They wonder if Mr. Rawlings is like Fred Jones who was unconsciously creating a cartoon-like manifestations around him. Sasha can't believe this sort of thing is possible. "You have no idea what's possible!" Dean states. They realize that Sasha saw the vampire when she attempted to enter the attic and that, when she ran away, it didn't follow her. It's guarding the attic. Sam plans to search it, so Dean hands him a weapon; he'll stay with Mr. Rawlings.
Mary doesn't find Bobby at the car. Night has fallen. She calls out his name to the unresponsive trees.
Sasha downs some pills while Dean sharpens a knife. The repetitive grating gets on her nerves. "You OK?" Dean wonders. "I never should have come back," she admits, adding bitterly, "Thanks, Dad." "I get it," confides Dean, but she shuts him down; moments later, though, she starts talking. Her dad was not a good person. He was always busy. He was never home, even though he knew her mother had a tendency towards depression. That's why he wasn't there when she found her mother's body; she'd been twelve years old. Dean soberly says, "I'm sorry." That's what everyone says, replies Sasha, everyone except her dad. He's never said he's sorry. Worst of all, "I worshipped him. Didn't know any better." And he's the only family she has left. Dean has some advice for her: "Let it go. There's nothing you can do about the past. It's baggage. You'll feel lighter when you let it go." "Is that what you do?" she asks. "I try every day," he says, meeting her eyes squarely.
Sam heads up to the attic, blade drawn. He opens a door and heads up a staircase, a flashlight lighting his way. The attic has random junk here and there like an old dollhouse, half-covered with a old tarp, and, near the wall, a girl in chains. Maggie! He rushes to her; she's unconscious. There's a needle taped to her neck, inserted into a vein, looking like the one years ago that the djinn had hooked up to his victims in the warehouse. Maggie's eyes open, and she weakly but frantically tells Sam, "It's here!" A toothy creature lunges at Sam; he swings his weapon and sand explodes everywhere. He turns back to Maggie to unchain her as she attempts to apologize for getting captured, but he reassures her that no apology is needed.
Alt Bobby, wearing a dapper, dark cap instead of a ratty old baseball cap and a gray button-down with a vest instead of worn flannel, is walking unarmed through the woods when the figure of a tall young man steps out from behind a tree. His face seems a little bloody, but the worst is his eyes - they're burnt out, holes of darkness in his face. "Daniel?" asks Bobby. "Hey, Dad," says the stranger, striding up to him and striking him with a massive blow. "How am I here? Am I real?" he asks almost mockingly as he continues to viciously beat and kick the older man, who collapses to the ground. Daniel grips him by the throat and holds him up high against a tree trunk, then drives an angel blade through his should, impaling him and pinning him to the tree. "Do you know what happened to me?" he asks. "They crucified me!" Suddenly, Mary is there, gun drawn, yelling, "Stop!" Bobby, helplessly pinned, blood caking his face, calls out, "Run!" Daniel strides toward her and she fires, but he doesn't stop. With one swing, he fells her, then crouches over her prone body, choking her. She struggles uselessly. Bobby painfully reaches up and yanks the blade out, causing him to plunge painfully to the forest floor. He grabs the angel blade and flings himself at his apparent son, getting him away from Mary and on the ground. "I'm sorry!" he says before stabbing him. The man explodes in a cloud of dust.
Dean and Sasha approach the bed where the nurse sits next to the still body of the old man. Dean takes a second look at the IV lines and the bags of blood. "You're giving him a transfusion?" he questions. Then he asks the daughter to make him a sandwich. Sasha is befuddled and insulted, but, behind Neal's back, Dean mouths, "Go!" "I'll . . . go . . . make a sandwich," she offers awkward, catching on and exiting the room. Dean pulls his gun on Neal: "You're not giving him blood; you're taking it. You're a djinn." He's seen this before, and he briefly recollects when he himself was strung up, mind lost and body being drained of blood from a tube inserted in his neck. Neal smiles; his eyes light up an unnatural blue and intricate tattoos appear on his cheeks and forehead. "Why are you going after hunters?" demands Dean. "You told me to!" replies the djinn. He's realizing that the man before him is not actually Michael; when he'd first entered the house, he'd thought it was a test, a way of seeing if the creature was keeping his end of the bargain. What bargain is that? He is supposed to set up shop in some quiet place and then kill as many hunters as he can. Then Michael will give him an upgrade. Normal djinn powers are so limiting. Now he can read minds. "Because of you, I can bring nightmares into the world." People's worst nightmares, like Mr. Rawlings'. His was dying alone in his old house. Maggie's was the vampires that killed her family. Bobby - you should see the things slithering in his mind! And what can Dean do about it? Nothing. There's no knife dipped in lamb's blood here. Nope, admits Dean, but a bullet can still slow him down. He fires into the monster's leg. It hurt but has no real effect. Instead, the djinn launches itself at Dean: "What are YOUR nightmares?" He clamps a hand onto his forehead, and blue light plays across Dean's tormented features. He can't move under the djinn's supernatural grip, and his face grimaces in pain, until the djinn lets go and staggers back, overwhelmed with what he's seen. Taking advantage of the respite, Dean grabs a heavy bookend and smashes it into Neal's head several times. Neal falls to the floor, bloody but grinning. "You think I'm the only trap? Dozens of us are waiting for you, for your family." "You don't know my family," declares Dean, bringing his improvised weapon down for a final time. The djinn lies dead on the floor. Dean calmly aims his gun and empties the clip into him.
Dean removes the needle from the old man's neck. He tells Sasha that she still might receive an apology from her father who now has a chance at life again. Sasha sits near her father, the sunrise lighting her face with a golden glow. Her hands reach out to caress her father's. "It's OK, Dad," she says gently. "I'm here."
The Impala drives swiftly down the road.
Flannel-clad hunters crowd around the bunker's table, checking weapons. Maggie enters with a wide though tremulous grin, and they embrace her fervently and jubilantly. Sam and Dean stand in the doorway watching the AU hunters welcome Maggie back. "We did this," Dean tells him. "You got her home." Sam tries to smile, but it doesn't seem to reach his eyes.
There's a closeup of a pile of bloody tissues, then the camera pulls back to show Mary patching up Bobby. He shares his story. His wife hadn't died of natural causes; he and their son had buried her. Hunting got them through the bad days after that, but then the angel wars happened. Bobby was given a platoon, and Daniel was in it. "It wasn't your fault," Mary tries to comfort him, but Bobby bleakly replies, "I sent him to war." He doesn't even know what the angels did to him. He never found his body. He'd never thought he'd be any good as a dad, but Daniel had been the best thing in his life. Mary listens compassionately as Bobby admits that he thought he'd die in that war, but he can end up the same hunting. "No!" Mary tells him firmly. "You're not allowed to give up on me." "I don't know any other way to live," Bobby admits. "We'll find one," Mary replies.
Sam is looking over paperwork when Dean enters to tell him that Maggie is ready to hunt. After all, he adds, looking at Sam, she learned from the best. Mary comes in to tell them that they need to talk.
We don't hear her explanation; the next we see, Mary and Bobby are packed and ready to leave. They're heading to Donna's cabin for some time off. Bobby tells Sam that Sam is a capable leader. Mary tells Dean that they'll just be gone a few weeks but if they need her, they can just call. "Go; be happy," Dean tells her, truthfully and calmly, hugging her.
Later in the bunker, both brothers are on the phone warning other hunters that Michael has set up hunts filled with supercharged monsters to kill as many of them as he can. Dean grabs a beer from the fridge. "I'm trying to move on from what I ... we . . . he did; I was almost feeling like myself." "We'll find him, and we'll kill him," states Sam. "How?" wonders Dean. Sam mentions that perhaps Kaia's spear is the answer. "I hope you're right," Dean comments. Our view focuses on Sam's face looking introspective as the episode ends.
- Did you suspect the nurse?
- Do you think the groundskeeper was suspicious?
- Why did Michael's monsters explode into sand?
- How did Sasha's relationship with her dad mirror Dean's with John?
- Did you expect AU Bobby to be a dad?
- Mary says that Sam is doing what he was born to do. Is THIS Sam's destiny?
- Bobby accused Sam of letting Maggie hunt when she wasn't ready. How do you know someone is ready? How do you know when to let go? Who is being let go? Who needs to be let go?
- How bad are Dean's nightmares that they made the djinn back off??