THEN: “Who are you?” “The guys who saved the world.” Scenes of Donatello. The guys says, “Whatever it takes.” Nick on his killing spree. Abraxas. Dean about Michael – “I can feel him in my head.” Dean and Sam on either side of the Ma’lak Box. Camera zooms in on Dean’s hands on the box. Screen turns black as we hear Dean say, “It’s the only sane play I’ve got.”
NOW: Underwater view. Dark blue. Waving seaweed. Bubbly, swirly, watery sounds. Then a dark shape ahead – the box. Inside, Dean, flat on his back, is pounding on the iron cover less than an arm’s length above his head. He’s panting, and his breath keeps switching from panicked to attempted control. By the light from his cell phone, he can see his fingertips bleeding from clawing at the metal. “No!” he exclaims, then “Sam . . . SAM!” The second time his voice is more urgent and scared. Suddenly, the battery starts to fail on his phone. As the cramped coffin descends into darkness, Dean calls, “Sam! Sammy! Sammy!”
Close-up of an open eye. Dean bolts awake; he’s in bed in a hotel room, Sam in the doorway apologizing for waking him. It was a bad dream. The title, “Prophet and Loss,” appears on the screen. Sam wants to begin a dialogue with Dean, who is sitting on the bed with his back turned to him, so he says he knows he’s got to be scared. Dean immediately replies that it doesn’t matter if he’s scared; this is the only way. “There are far worse things than death,” Sam tells him, being trapped with an archangel who can keep you alive forever, locked in a box at the bottom of the ocean is one of those things! “There’s got to be another way!” insists Sam. “What is it?” demands Dean, as he heads toward the door. Sam has no reply. Dean knew that he wouldn’t have any alternative to offer.
A girl is whimpering as confusing images flit by – water, bags, a young woman gagged and bound, a man stirring something. The water swirls and gurgles. The dark-haired young man calmly lifts the woman and carries her to a large tank of water and places her in it as she struggles and cries. With a huge knife, he cuts her arm, and blood starts mingling with the water. Dispassionately, he shoves her head under the water where she struggles futilely for a while. Suddenly, the blood-tinged water seems to glow with a yellow light. The man, on his knees, looks up, spreading his arms wide. There are whispers in an unknown language as he looks up toward heaven, rapt.
Inside a hospital, Nick, dressed in a hospital gown, is handcuffed to a bed. A policeman brings him some food and taunts him a bit, angry about the destruction he’s done. “Four jurisdictions want to prosecute you,” he says. Nick says that it was Lucifer. He had possessed him, then left him but had changed him. The police officer doesn’t want to buy the possession story: “You’ll be locked up for the rest of your life. You’re done. You’re buried.” Nick looks sad.
The Impala pulls up to a rest stop. Dean is questioning whether Sam is still with him. Sam says that he’d give him his word, but he doesn’t like that Dean hasn’t spoken to Castiel or Jack about his plan. Dean admits that he’s not good at saying goodbye. While Dean is in the restroom, Sam calls Cas back at the bunker. He’s obviously already told him about the Ma’lak Box because Cas has been researching, although to no avail. Rowena has also been searching the Book of the Damned and responded with profuse profanity when Castiel asked her to check it again. “If we don’t find some way,” Sam says, “Dean’s gone.”
A dark, rainy night. A man in a car is watching another man exit from a building. A street light glows yellow against the surrounding darkness. It’s the man who killed the woman, and now he’s after another victim. The dark-haired man drags a body into a warehouse. The young man’s face is battered, and duct tape is fastened over his mouth. The assailant dumps him onto a plastic tarp. Strange words are uttered: “Strike down first born in the land of Egypt,” “against gods of Egypt,” “execute judgment.” The victim’s eyes are wide, but the killer doesn’t hesitate to slit his throat, then pull open his shirt to carve something onto his chest, breathing hard. The whispering voices start up again, louder this time. We hear, “I am the Lord.”
Dean is driving the Impala through the night. For a moment, he’s distracted by the door rattling in his mind as Michael rages and slams against the door. Dean retains control, then glances over at Sam, who seems to be studying his phone. Dean gruffly but determinedly brings up their past: “I know I wasn’t always the greatest brother to you.” Sam looks at him, with incredulity and grief both in his eyes. “You were the one who was always there for me!” Sam insists. “You raised me.” “Things got dicey sometimes,” Dean continues. “I didn’t always look out for you like I should have. Sometimes it looked like I took Dad’s side. When I was away, you now it wasn’t because I wanted to. Dad would send me away when I pissed him off.” Sam is uncomfortable with this conversation. He’d put that away a long time ago, and he doesn’t want any death-bed apologies.
An eye peeks through a doorway. The policeman is watching Nick pray: “Answer me!” The officer tells him that God won’t answer his prayer. Nick pathetically asks to be freed so he can use the bathroom. The officer hands him a bedpan. Nick begs for the bathroom itself; after all, what can he do, in cuffs and with a hurt leg? The officer relents, approaching and telling Nick to put his hands behind his back. But the moment he unlatches the cuffs, Nick smashes his head back brutally into the unwary officer’s face, then grabs the bedpan and whacks him violently in the side of the head. The man collapses to the floor. Eyeing him for a moment, Nick proceeds to kick him, sending blood splattering. Grabbing a bag of clothes from a closet, he drops the cuffs and keys on the officer’s chest and then limps barefoot down the hall.
The Winchesters are driving. Sam has found a case in Ft. Dodge, Iowa. Dean’s a little surprised, then accepting: “One last case for the Winchester boys.” Sam doesn’t like that but plunges on with the details: a woman drowned in bloody salt water and a guy with his throat slit and both with graffiti carved on them, only it’s not graffiti. It’s Enochian.
Dean and Sam, dressed in suits and holding up their FBI ID, appear in a doorway. They want to interview the brother of the male victim. He tells them that they were twins, but that his brother always viewed himself as the older brother, even though it was only by four minutes. He talks about how hard it is to be without his brother; it’s like losing a part of himself. Sam and Dean can’t help but exchange glances. Sam mentions the writing, that it’s an ancient language meaning Word of God. Did the brother have any religious friends? There was one – a Tony Alvaraz. He shows them a picture of the friend – it’s a young man with a tattoo on his arm; the tattoo is Enochian for “The Word.”
Cas eagerly answers his cell phone, glad to talk to Dean. He’s intense and wants to discuss Dean’s plan. Dean does not want to talk about this with him, instead insisting on discussing the case and what Cas has found out about Tony Alvaraz. Cas tells him that Antonio is next up to be prophet when Donatello dies.
The brothers, still in their fibby suits, have been leaning against the Impala for the phone call. Baby has a flatbed trailer attached with the Box on it. Dean isn’t happy that Sam told Castiel about his plan to entrap Michael permanently, but Sam shrugs it off because it’s CAS. Dean calls the nursing home where they’d put Donatello to find that he is still alive, though intubated and in a coma.
With the information they got from Cas, they Winchesters go to Tony’s house, pick the lock and enter, flashlights surveying the normal interior, normal, that is, except for one room whose walls are covered in both Enochian and English. Sam sees photos of the two victims as well as pictures of other people, taken from a distance: possible future victims. The writing on the walls include “word of God,” “divine retribution,” first born son,” and “Red Sea.” Dean snaps some pictures with his cell phone. The woman had been drowned in the Red Sea – bloody salt water – and the man who died had been a first-born son. What’s next? They see the words, “fire came from the Lord and devoured them.” Sam takes a closer look at the photo of the female victim; the tank she’s in has a label: Sphinx Machine Shop.
At the machine shop, there’s another victim, with a bloody face tied by the wrists to the ceiling. Despite the frantic man’s pleas, Tony pours gasoline on his feet, then backs away, leaving a trail of gasoline. The helpless victim grows frantic; Tony tosses a match and the fire begins to spread just as the Winchesters burst in. Sam hurls himself at Tony, knocking him to the ground, while Dean smothers the flames and cuts down the terrified man, urging him to run. Sam has the future prophet in a choke hold; Dean calls his name as if to remind him to loosen his grip. Tony insists that he’s doing God’s work. God has talked to him. “What’s he saying now?” asks Dean. Tony listens. Nothing. “It wasn’t God,” says Sam. “You’re not chosen,” adds Dean. “You’re just a psycho.” “No,” says Tony. When the boys briefly confer, he lunges at Dean, knocking him to the ground. Tony is easily hurled away again, but he lands near Dean’s gun, which he’d dropped when he was attacked. The erstwhile prophet grabs it, then shoots himself with it. On the phone with Sam, Castiel reveals that the natural order is upset. Tony was a premature and malformed prophet, since Donatella hovers between life and death. This may happen to the next prophet on this list. How do we end this, they wonder, but, from the look they share, they know what they have to do.
Nick punches in a small glass window in a door, reaches inside, and unlocks the door. He enters and turns on a lamp. The house looks rather bare and unlived in. It was Nick’s old house – still uninhabited after that tragedy. He has flashbacks of an empty swing, a blood-soaked crib, the baby monitor. He shivers in the sudden cold. His breath fogs. A mirror is covered in frost. He idly traces his fingers through the ice when suddenly doors start banging and lights flickering. He turns to see a woman in a nightgown entering the room. “Nick?” she asks. “Is that you?” he replies. “Yes, Nick!” she soothes. “Lucifer!” he exclaims. The figure recoils in shock: “It’s Sarah – your wife!” She has never left the house; she’s a ghost; there was unfinished business. “I’m so sorry,” Nick tells her. “No, you’re not,” she replies. His voice hardens as he explains that he found her killer – it was Frank, a policeman. No, not Frank. He was possessed. You see - Abraxas. . . He stops his fumbled explanations, summing up that he got justice for her. She is free. With anger, Sarah explains that she’s not free. “It’s YOU! You chose Lucifer. You wanted him. You still do. You came here to find HIM. Reject him; then I can find peace.” He hesitates at her pleading, then says, “I can’t.” Her anger flares. “You can’t because you ARE him. You doomed me. You doomed yourself.” “I know,” replies Nick. “I’m sorry. He turns away. Sarah asks where he’s going. “Wherever it’s darkest. Wherever he is.” Nick leaves the ghost of his wife alone in the barren room.
At the nursing home, the doctor is telling Donatello’s “nephews” that they’re making the right choice in removing life support, that sometimes letting go is the right choice. Dean looks significantly at Sam. Another white-jacketed doctor comes into the hallway – it’s Castiel. Apparently, though Donatello is showing no brain activity, he had been babbling words. Over Donatello’s bed, Cas explains why he’s there: what happened to Donatello is his fault and he regrets it, though he had to do it. “I know the feeling,” says Dean, but Cas angrily asserts that Dean can’t compare what Castiel did to Donatello to what Dean plans to do to himself. Dean is angry too and intensely pleads with Cas, on their friendship, to let him do this. “So this is goodbye?” asks Cas. Sam interrupts; he’s pulled up a video of the words Donatello had been mumbling that the doctors had recorded. It’s the same as Tony: “I will strike down the first born in the land of Egypt.” It’s the words of God. Cas now thinks he might be able to fix Donatello. “If there’s a spark, a hope, I have to try! YOU taught me that,” he adds to Dean as he approaches the bedside of the comatose prophet.
Dean and Sam are sitting in a secluded waiting area. Sam comments about how awful it would be to be like Donatello, trapped in his own body. He doesn’t even want to think about how terrible that experience would be. So don’t think about it; I don’t, Dean tells him. Sam jibes that it’s easy for Dean to not think, but Dean is serious. He is facing something horrific, but nothing’s changed. He’s still going to do it. In the room, Cas is using his angel powers on Donatello. His eyes light up blue, and the prophet’s eyes open. Dean turns off the machines, and Donatello stays awake. “It’s a miracle!” Dean declares to the confused doctor, who only minutes before had been planning on pulling the plug on his brain-dead patient.
Donatello sits in his bed eating grape jello but longing for deep-fried chicken. He’s back, but he still has no soul. When he wonders what happened, Dean tells him that Castiel will inform him. Dean walks out to the Impala where Sam is leaning against the hood with several cans of beer. He tosses one to his older brother. “No rest for the self-destructive,” Sam remarks. Dean is just glad that he’s going out on a high. Sam erupts in anger. Dean was willing to save Donatello but not himself. Sam says that he’s copied Dean, looked up to him, followed him all his life. Does that mean nothing now? Is Dean telling him that he has to throw away everything they’ve believed in, throw away faith, family? We don’t just give up. We don’t just check out. Dean insists that he’s tried everything. There is only one end that will keep Michael from destroying the world. Sam pleads that there’s no answer today, but there might be an answer tomorrow, but if Dean quits today, there will be no more tomorrow. What Dean’s planning is wrong; it’s quitting. “I believe in us, Dean! Why don’t you believe in us too?” Then he punches Dean soundly on the jaw. Dean staggers, and Sam takes another swing. Dean grabs his arm, and then Sam pulls him into a hug, holding on and not letting go. Dean hugs him back and finally says, “OK, Sam. Let’s go home.” Cas is exiting the facility, walking past the sign declaring it the Happy Days Nursing Home. “Maybe Billie’s wrong,” says Dean. “But I do believe in us. All of us.” But he is nothing but practical: “I’ll keep believing until I can’t. But then you’ll have to accept it as the end. Promise me you’ll let me go. Put me in that box. Cas too.” As they get in the car, he adds, “Don’t hit me again, OK?” The Impala’s headlights turn on, and the screens turns white as the credits begin.
- Did you think Dean was already in the box or did you think it was a dream?
- Do you agree with Sam saying that he’s never seen Dean like this?
- Why does Dean feel that he has to apologize for what happened when they were growing up?
- How have Sam’s and Dean’s views on their father changed over the years?
- Despite all the horrible things Nick has done, do you feel the show is still setting him up as sympathetic? Do you feel revulsion or pity and why?
- What references to other seasons/episodes did you see in tonight’s show?
- Both last week’s and this week’s episodes have had intense discussions between the brothers. What is your reaction to those scenes?