What’s in the book?!
This is the question that everyone has been asking for a solid week, since Billie visited Dean and laid out for him just how completely he screwed things up for himself by jumping back and forth between worlds.
“Damaged Goods” was directed by Phil Sgriccia and written by Davy Perez. The episode takes us from Lebanon to Hibbing and beyond, and there are burgers, mustachioed pinups, and even a “Winchester surprise.”
Spoilers are ahead, so beware!
The episode opens on a demon who is tied to a chair and being interrogated by Nick. He is still searching for any information he can find about his family’s murders and about Abraxas, the demon who killed them. We learn that the captive demon used to work with Abraxas, until Abraxas was captured by a hunter.
After being threatened with an angel blade, the demon gives up to Nick that the hunter who captured Abraxas is currently in Hibbing, Minnesota. Nick thanks her for the information by killing her anyway.
At the bunker, Dean is grabbing some reference books from a storage room and has packed a duffel bag, presumably for a trip. He finds Sam in the library, where Sam is feverishly trying to figure out how to rid Dean of Michael, safely. Dean thanks Sam for his efforts, which understandably confuses Sam. Dean then tells his brother that he wants to take a trip to see Mary, who is currently staying at Donna’s cabin. When Sam starts to get prepared to leave with him, Dean says that he wants to go alone, so he can spend some one-on-one time with his mother. Dean then hugs Sam and leaves.
At Donna’s Minnesota cabin, Mary is on the phone with Sam, and she is excited that Dean is on his way to see her. She tells Sam that she and Bobby have decided to spend some time apart, and she has been at the cabin by herself for some time. Sam then confides in Mary that he is concerned for Dean, because of the hug that he gave him earlier. Mary thinks this is sweet, but Sam explains that they hug “…only when it’s literally the end of the world.”
While he is on the phone with his mother, Sam makes his way to the storage room where Dean was earlier. He sees the empty spaces on the shelves where the books used to be, and he realizes that Dean may have an ulterior motive to visiting their mom.
Dean has now made his way to Hibbing and is chowing down on the “best burgers ever” with Sheriff Donna Hanscum. While they’re eating their lunch, Donna tries several times to ask Dean how he is doing, but Dean deflects and interrupts and asks her his own questions. Eventually, Donna calls him out on this, because she knows that he does not want to talk about the archangel who is “hitching a ride up there in [his] noggin.” (God bless Donna and her precious midwestern accent.) Dean tells her that he will make it through and for her not to worry. He hugs her goodbye and leaves. Donna is visibly concerned.
At Donna’s cabin, Dean pulls up in the Impala. He finds Mary in the backyard doing some target practice with pumpkins. Mary is glad to see her son and tells Dean that she would be happy to call Sam to join them, to make it a true family reunion. Dean pushes back slightly and says that he wants to be selfish with his “mom time.” Mary again suggests that Sam should join them, and Dean bluntly says, “I don’t want Sam here.”
He assures Mary that there is nothing wrong between him and Sam and that he is just “hangry” and starving. (This conversation is taking place about 20 minutes after eating lunch with Donna, remember.) He suggests that Mary make “Winchester Surprise” for dinner, a family meal that Mary refers to as “a heart attack on a plate.” Dean requests extra cheese on his, and he sends her off to the store to buy the fixins.
As soon as Mary leaves, though, Dean’s true purpose about making this trip becomes clear. He takes his duffel bag to the adjacent barn/workshop and looks around to take a mental inventory of the tools and supplies available to him. (He also sees a poster of a shirtless hunk in a cowboy hat, a mustache, and not much else.) Dean puts on an 8-track of The Guess Who’s “No Time” and gets to work. He welds and saws and hammers …something together, although it is unclear at this point what he is building.
At the grocery store, Mary loads the supplies into her truck, with the help of a store employee, and leaves. That store employee is then confronted by Nick, who has arrived in a blue van looking for Mary. The employee doesn’t tell Nick that he knows who Mary is or where she lives. Nick leaves the parking lot upset, and as soon as he is gone, the employee calls someone – presumably Mary – on his phone to warn them about Nick.
We now see Nick driving down a road at night, and he passes a police cruiser, who immediately turns on its lights as soon as it passes him. The cruiser turns around in the distance and catches up to Nick and gets him to pull over. The cop gets out of the cruiser, and we see that it’s Donna.
The next scene shows Nick handcuffed and pushed up against the side of his van. Donna explains that the van he is driving was reported stolen a few weeks earlier. She takes a digital thumbprint from Nick and learns his real identity. While she is busy reading the display on her fingerprint scanner (with her back turned to Nick…what the crap, Donna?!), Nick escapes from his handcuffs using a paper clip, and he begins fighting her. Ultimately, he grabs her taser and knocks her unconscious with it.
Mary returns to the cabin with the food, and Dean starts to make dinner. Meanwhile, Sam calls Mary to check on things, and Mary tells him that she is worried about Dean and she needs more time to spend with him. She tells Sam not to come up to the cabin. Sam says he won’t, and he hangs up the phone, places the phone in his car console, and continues to drive like a bat out of hell toward Hibbing.
During dinner, Dean is telling Mary funny stories from when he and Sam were younger… about failed dinners that Dean made for everyone and how upset John would get because of how bad they were. Mary is remorseful that she was not present for so much of her sons’ lives, but Dean reassures her that he and Sam are so very thankful that she is there now. She then tells Dean that he can talk to her about whatever it is he is going through. Dean says to her that he simply does not want to talk about anything.
Later that night, while Dean is adorably snoring on the pull-out couch, Mary quietly walks out of the cabin and toward the barn/shed where Dean had been working earlier. She goes inside and looks around to find the books that Dean had brought with him. Mary sees blueprints of the structure that Dean is building, and it appears that she has figured out what Dean is planning to do, even though we still are left in the dark about it.
While Mary is searching the barn, the camera shows us Donna, who has been left in her cruiser unconscious. She begins to awaken from the assault.
Eventually, Mary leaves the barn. But she is immediately confronted by Nick, who has located her.
Inside the cabin, the still-snoring Dean is awakened by a ringing cell phone. It is Donna, who is calling to warn him about Nick. Dean rushes outside and runs into Sam, who has finally arrived. He tells Sam that Nick and Mary are both missing.
Away from the cabin, Nick has Mary tied up in his van. He explains to her that he learned that she was the hunter who fought Abraxas all those years ago. At first, Mary tells Nick that she killed Abraxas, but after being threatened, she admits to him that she successfully trapped the demon in an Enochian puzzlebox. And she agrees to take Nick to where the demon is currently being stored.
Donna has made her way to her cabin and meets up with the Winchesters. She gets a call over her radio that Nick’s van has been spotted 45 minutes away at a storage facility. The boys and the sheriff hightail it that way, hoping to save Mary in time.
At the storage facility, Mary shows Nick the set of lockers where Abraxas is stored. She does not offer more help than that, so Nick has to break each lock until he finds the puzzlebox. When he does, he demands that she open it, but she refuses. She also reminds him that a demon needs a host. And without that, Nick won’t even be able to communicate with Abraxas.
Nick’s solution is to kidnap and tie up the storage facility employee, so Abraxas will have a host. Mary still refuses to open the puzzlebox for Nick, so he takes a power drill and drills an opening into the box. This is successful, and the demon smoke escapes and finds the tied-up employee.
When Abraxas wakes up in his new vessel, he immediately recognizes Mary. Nick starts asking him why he killed his family. Abraxas says he will answer his questions, but only after Nick kills Mary. Mary scoffs at this suggestion, until Nick grabs a knife and walks toward her to complete his end of the trade. But just when he is about to attack Mary, Sam, Dean, and Donna arrive to stop him and save Mary.
However, Nick takes this opportunity to break the devil’s trap that is holding Abraxas, and the demon takes control of the situation. Abraxas then tells Nick that he killed his family, because he was following orders — Lucifer’s orders. When Nick asks why his family was chosen, the demon tells him that it was a random assignment, like throwing a “dart at a phonebook.”
Abraxas then turns around to start attacking everyone, but Nick approaches him from behind and stabs him with the angel blade. With Abraxas dead, Nick makes like he is going to kill everyone else there. But Donna shoots him in the leg, disabling him, and everyone is then safe.
Outside the storage room, Mary confronts Dean about what she found and that she has figured out what Dean is building in Donna’s shed. And she tells him that, if he does not tell Sam what his plans are, then she will.
Back at the shed, Dean brings Sam up to speed on his plans. Dean has been building a special box that is secured and warded sufficiently enough that, once inside, not even an archangel can escape. Sam admits that he has heard of such boxes, but that they are supposedly impossible to build. Dean tells him that he has successfully built one and wants to use it to trap himself with Michael — forever. He explains to Sam about the visit from Billie and that this is the only way to save this world. Otherwise, Michael will burn it all down.
Sam then reveals the anger that has built up since Dean left for Donna’s cabin. Sam has realized that Dean was on a suicide mission of sorts and had made no time or opportunity to say goodbye to him on his “farewell tour.” Dean admits that he knows Sam is the only one who could have talked him out of this plan, and he did not want Sam to have a chance to do that.
Dean then says, “Now you can either let me do this alone, or you could help me. But I’m doing this.”
After much hesitation, Sam says, “All right.”
Tune in next week for the 12th episode of the season, “Prophet And Loss,” which will air on The CW at 9/8c.