Last week’s episode left us with a bit of a nostalgic feeling as we were treated to a very quick flashback to early seasons Sam and Dean acknowledging out loud that they’ve “got work to do.” Chuck has released all the souls and demons from Hell, and they’re wreaking havoc on a small town. Although Belphegor’s spell is currently keeping many of the ghosts trapped, it can’t be this easy for this long, can it? Fans have been left wondering what happens next for our heroes, and perhaps many of us are wondering where Chuck is now? Also, why can’t Castiel heal the wound on Sam’s body from when he shot God with The Equalizer and received the same injury as his target?
Written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming and directed by Robert Singer; these questions are mostly answered in this week’s episode. Viewers were also treated to a few surprise character returns. Join me as I recap the exciting return of a few characters and unwrap more little clues as to where the final season of Supernatural is headed.
*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.*
When we last saw Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Belphegor, they were busy dealing with the horde of ghosts and demons that were freed from Hell by God himself. This episode picks up where we left off, and the guys are still trying to manage the situation while keeping the suspicious townsfolk compliant. The ghosts, however, are far less compliant. In a familiar opening scene, a woman is wandering around within the quarantine zone alone at night (have we learned nothing people?) She’s retrieving allergy medicine for her kid and runs into a man she calls Rob. They know each other and she tries to engage in some small talk with him, but it’s obvious that there’s something wrong with Rob. He kills the innocent woman and we find out that poor Rob has been possessed by a murderous ghost.
Back at the high school where the townspeople are taking refuge during the evacuation, Castiel is unsure if they can keep lying to these people. People are already going missing and Sam instructs someone to alert the hunters surveying the area to keep an eye out for the missing people. Sam then addresses the people who are already suspicious about the validity of the ‘benzene’ leak. He emphasizes the importance of staying out of the quarantine zone until it is safe. Fellow citizens are disappearing and not returning, and a few people are concocting plans to go in and search for them.
At the same time, Dean and Belphegor are on watch together. They’re walking just outside of the warding and watching as ghosts are desperately trying to escape. Belphegor is still sassy and he explains that the warding won’t last long and that these are not normal ghosts they’re dealing with. In fact, a ghost that Dean shot at happens to be Jack the Ripper himself.
The ghosts are gathering in the meantime. Many are wondering why they’re out of Hell and Jack the Ripper knows it was God’s doing. He has overheard a conversation stating that fact. He also knows that they’re dealing with hunters and that the hunters are working with the demon, Belphegor. The ghosts want out of the warded zone and are now rallying to put their powers together to escape. They’re putting their plan into action by possessing various townspeople who happen to wander into the quarantine zone in search of missing people.
Back at the high school, Castiel and Sam are discussing whether or not they should be honest with the people. Sam isn’t sure if it’s the right time. But before they can discuss it further, Rowena makes her entrance and the guys seem to be relieved to see her. Sam tells her that they need her help and she responds with, “Can you boys do nothing on your own?” Sam already has a plan. A plan that he needs Rowena’s help with. He brings up the soul bomb. The first time the soul bomb was discussed and made was in season 11. It was their grand plan to kill Amara and was never actually used fully. Still, the idea is the same. They want Rowena to create another crystal for basically the same purpose, to collect the souls. Rowena isn’t so sure. She explains how difficult it was the first time. They’re interrupted and it appears that Sam is needed elsewhere.
Back at the quarantine zone, Sam meets up with Dean and Belphegor. Two of the people who had gone missing are there and they are now possessed by ghosts. Jack the Ripper reappears and demands that they let them free, but his request is denied. In turn, the two people are being killed by the ghosts and before anyone can change their minds, shots are fired. The ghosts leave the bodies of the people and at least they are alive and safe once again. Ketch appears, holding a shotgun. He was the one who expelled the ghosts.
Back at the high school, Ketch is explaining that he was in the area and happened upon the scene. The gun he used is a British Men of Letters idea, a gun that fires iron flakes to expel ghosts and not harm the people being possessed. In an interesting moment, Ketch and Rowena appear to be exchanging glances. Ketch is apologizing for their last meeting, but Rowena seems to have forgiven him. I’m pretty sure they’re into each other. As Dean explains their plan with the soul vacuum, Ketch and Rowena are still making googly your eyes at each other. Yeah, they’re definitely into each other.
Belphegor enters just then and Ketch thinks it’s still Jack. Sam and Dean explain that Jack is dead and this is a demon in his vessel. Belphegor introduces himself and Ketch is surprised. He explains how he was sent to kill the demon Belphegor by another demon who wants him dead. Jack knows exactly who he’s talking about, but the guys convince Ketch to hold off on killing him for now.
Meanwhile, we cut to Reno, NV. Amara is there (we haven’t seen her since the end of season 11 when she and Chuck took off together for some family boding time) and as it turns out, she really does love keno. She’s in some penthouse suite, in the middle of a massage, and clearly living her best life when all of that relaxation quickly disappears as Chuck pops in to say hi. She’s immediately mad that God would choose to smite her masseuse and not give her the space that they had agreed they’d give each other. She only gets more irritated with him as their interaction continues.
Chuck appears to be slightly different from when we last saw him as he went full-on vengeful God mode and decided to end the world in the season 14 finale. It’s almost as if we have season 11 Chuck back in this episode. He’s a bit jumpy, smiley, and talks non-stop as Amara rolls her eyes in response. He’s in the middle of rambling about that ‘Game of Thrones ending and how great it was’ when Amara stops him and asks him why he’s really there. But, Chuck seems hesitant to answer her question.
Cutting back to the Winchesters current dilemma, Rowena hands Dean the list of items she’ll need for the spell. Dean makes a joke about hoping she has an Amazon account for all of it. She says she needs what she needs, and even with everything, there’s no guarantee. The topic shifts suddenly as Rowena asks him about Ketch. Dean tells her not to get involved with Ketch, but as he walks away, it’s certain that’s exactly what Rowena wants to do.
Finally, Dean and Castiel have a moment to talk. Castiel apologizes for “dropping the puck,” he understands that he should have told Dean about Jack and Mary. Dean is still angry about all of it. He’s angry at Castiel for lying to him and he’s angry at Chuck for the way things are going now. But, Castiel is angry too. He tells Dean that Chuck writing the story, “doesn’t mean it was all a lie.” We see a pretty vulnerable moment for Dean. He’s questioning whether any part of their lives was really free will, or if it really was all God’s plan. He thinks everything they have ever done is pointless and that they were basically puppets on a string. Castiel explains that perhaps Chuck designed the obstacles that they made their way through, but in the end, they always ran their own race.
Unconvinced, Dean says that, “Nothing about our lives is real,” as he starts to leave the room. Castiel speaks, stopping Dean in his tracks. “You asked … what about all of this is real?” Castiel says. “We are.” Dean only hesitates briefly before walking out.
Later, Dean and Ketch are on watch together. Dean hands him an iron chain to help keep him safe from ghost possession and Ketch asks about all of this being God’s fault. Ketch then thinks it’s a good time to ask about Rowena and Dean is displeased. Again, they’re interrupted by a text. Two hunters haven’t checked in. Dean and Ketch find themselves in a meat packing plant, searching for the missing hunters. Suddenly, they’re each thrown across the room by an unseen force. An axe wielding ghost appears, but before she can get too crazy, she is stopped by a voice calling out for her to stop. We see a figure in the background and the ghost skeedadles quickly.
The mystery figure steps out from the shadows and lo and behold, it is our very own Kevin Tran, another character that we haven’t seen since season 11 when Chuck had supposedly sent his soul to Heaven. Dean is just as surprised as we are and asks the question we’re all wondering: What is Kevin doing here? He’s supposed to be in Heaven. Kevin states that this is what Chuck said he was doing, but it’s not what he did. He sent Kevin to Hell, and honestly, this is a real jerk move even for Chuck. Dean says that they’re going to make sure they get Kevin to Heaven where he belongs once they get rid of those that belong back in Hell.
Kevin tells them that the warding is fading and Dean asks if the other ghosts know that he has a history with he and Sam. Kevin isn’t sure, but he talks about his “bad boy rep” in Hell since God cast him down himself. Dean realizes this means that Kevin can mingle with the other ghosts to see if they also know that the warding is weakening.
Meanwhile, Amara still seems stressed as Chuck hangs out and continues to talk. Their little family vacation obviously went okay, because neither of them killed the other; but at this point, Amara is just the big sis who is fed up with her annoying little bro. Chuck suggests another family outing. Maybe they can visit some new dimensions or create a new species together. Suddenly Amara pauses and looks at Chuck. “What?” He asks. “Do I have a booger?”
As Amara approaches him, she senses something. She realizes that Chuck needs her. Chuck tries to play it cool, not wanting her to know that she’s right, but as Amara touches the wound on his shoulder, he recoils in pain and Amara senses more. “You’re not complete, you’re not at full strength, and you’re afraid.” Based on the expression on Chuck’s face, Amara is absolutely right.
Back at the quarantine zone, Sam and Dean are discussing ghost Kevin. Sam thinks it’s probably not safe to send Kevin in to spy, but they need the information. Belphegor appears and they talk about the warding. They all know it’s weakening, but Belphegor says that he can’t recharge it and it was a one-time deal. Sam mentions Kevin, and it seems to touch on a nerve for Belphegor. He knows Kevin and calls him whiny and a “typical millennial.” Belphegor explains that there’s no way they’re going to get Kevin’s soul to Heaven. Once you’re cast down to Hell, you can’t get into Heaven. Apparently John and Bobby were the exceptions though.
In a very short scene, something very important is revealed. We see Chuck as he looks at himself in a mirror. He pulls his shirt down to examine the wound from The Equalizer, the same wound he shares with Sam. It’s already interesting to note that God obviously can’t heal this injury and it is certainly affecting him in a big way. He reaches up and touches the wound, immediately pulling back with the same pained look as when Amara touched it. This time, however, the scene cuts to Sam. In that same moment, Sam is suddenly pulling back in pain as he reaches for his own wound, letting viewers in on the fact that this wound has connected Sam to Chuck somehow. For now, they’re feeling each others pain and that is probably not good news for either of them.
The ghosts are gathering again. They too can sense that the warding is getting weaker. They plan to use their collective strength to break through instead of waiting it out. Kevin shows up, and the ghosts know that he’s probably aware of the hunters plans. They know he has a history with the Winchesters.
Rowena and Ketch are working together elsewhere, putting together the spell for the weapon and flirting heavily. Honestly, it’s actually quite a humorous interaction as Ketch shows off for her. Once they get the soul vacuum together, it’s time to get to work. Rowena is in the quarantine zone and Jack the Ripper appears. They know each other apparently and Jack also knows that she’s working with the Winchesters. He tells her to deliver the message that they have “their boy.” Ketch shows up and shoos the ghost as Rowena makes a run for it, but before he too can escape, he’s knocked out by the ghost.
Sam, Dean, and Castiel meet Rowena and she relays the message. Dean asks if she has the soul catcher and Rowena still isn’t convinced that it will work. Sam and Dean pop in on the ghost meeting next. The ghosts demand that they let them go but Dean says no. In retaliation, Jack the Ripper begins to hurt ghost Kevin (can we please stop hurting Kevin?) and Rowena and Castiel bust in. Rowena puts the soul catcher to work and it’s effective against many of the ghosts. Some of the ghosts flee, and Kevin is saved. Kevin tells them about the back up plan. The ghosts know the warding is fading, so they’re meeting at its weakest point. The team heads to the spot, and sure enough, the ghosts are attempting to escape.
Ketch, who seems unharmed, shows back up and the team gathers to try to stop the ghosts. As Rowena starts to suck up more ghosts, Ketch hits her and takes the soul catcher. He’s possessed and the ghost within him plans to use the weapon to break down the warding. Dean shoots him though and he drops the weapon and Rowena goes back to catching more souls.
Their plan is successful and Ketch is alive at least. He’s being taken away by ambulance and he and Rowena share yet another brief moment. Castiel is shocked to discover that he can’t even heal Ketch and it obviously worries him even as Sam tries to tell him it’s probably not a big deal.
Now that the ghosts here are dealt with, they’ve got one more ghost that needs something. Kevin, who knows he can’t go to Heaven and doesn’t want to go back to Hell, wants to leave. He’s prepared to wander Earth alone until he goes crazy despite the insistence from Sam and Dean that they try to get him into Heaven. They reluctantly agree to let him go, and as an impatient Belphegor awaits, Kevin says his goodbyes to the Winchesters, delivering a heart wrenching, “I love you guys,” before Belphegor creates a rift in the warding and Kevin walks out and disappears.
In the final scene between Chuck and Amara, Amara is heading out and Chuck foolishly thinks he’s tagging along. Chuck is insistent that they belong together, but Amara wants to be alone. He gets is angry and as he grabs her arm to stop her, she tells him that, “Even on your best day, you couldn’t force my hand.” She knows that Chuck is weak right now and she knows that he can’t leave this world without her help. It’s apparent that Amara never really did fully forgive Chuck for the whole “Mark of Cain and locking her up for eons” thing. As Chuck looks on at her in shock and fear, she throws that right back in his face as a reminder of what he is truly like and flat out refuses to help him. “You’re trapped. Diminished. Abandoned,” she tells him. “So, I guess you got what you always wanted. You’re on your own.” She leaves the room, giving him one last look before abandoning him. Oh, how the tables have turned.
In the end, Sam, Dean, Castiel, Rowena, and Belphegor look on as more and more souls are leaving Hell. Belphegor’s warding will fail soon, Rowena’s soul catcher can’t handle that many souls, and they realize they have to find another way to deal with them. The question is, how?
The episode answered some questions we may have had about the current situation, but it also left us with a lot more questions that need answers. Who is Belphegor really and why does everyone seem to know him? What’s the deal with Rowena and Ketch? If Chuck apparently can’t leave this world, will our guys be able to catch up with him sooner rather than later? What exactly is this obvious connection that Sam and Chuck share because of that wound? And finally, can we please stop hurting Kevin?