After that cliffhanger from last episode with Chuck luring Sam and Eileen his way, we’re back for the mid-season premiere to finally find out what he is up to. We were also left knowing that Dean holds the actual spell that was used to lock Amara away at one point, and that someone’s gonna have to head to Purgatory to retrieve the one item needed that they don’t have on hand. As usual though, nothing is ever too easy for our guys, and this episode if full of twists and turns and unexpected outcomes. Join me as I recap, “The Trap”, and make sure you buckle up, because this one was quite the ride!
The episode opens with Sam and Eileen in a casino — the same casino where Chuck was hanging out before, so already, this can’t be good. Sam is tied up to a chair with Eileen sitting across from him. He wakes up from his slumber and Chuck appears next to Eileen who then immediately apologizes to Sam. Turns out, Chuck was controlling the Eileen situation all along. He pulled the strings that led her back to Sam, and although he refers to his actions as “helping,” it’s clear he’s done it all for his own gain. He says that he can’t see the guys anymore, so that’s where Eileen came into play. He hates, “missing his favorite show,” so he just had to find a way to tune in. Eileen was a pawn all along. Chuck acknowledges that he and Sam are connected through the wounds they share, and in turn, well, he’s stuck on earth. He also has a scalpel…
Chuck explains that he and Sam’s wounds aren’t healing properly because of Sam. Something is there inside of him that is making it impossible to break their connection. While he’s talking, Eileen has phoned Dean, who is now hearing everything that is going on, but Chuck notices what she’s doing. He takes the phone and greets Dean, to which Dean responds by calling him a dick, and Chuck throws the phone before going back to his work.
But, Chuck is hesitating as he holds the scalpel to Sam’s wound. Sam realizes that he is stalling, and despite him being able to just snap people out of existence, it seems as if he’s more voyeuristic than anything. “You just like to watch,” Sam tells him and Eileen joins in by telling Chuck that he’s pathetic (maybe you shouldn’t poke the bear here, Eileen). Suddenly, Chuck seems less scared, more angry, and he has a thought. “You’re right, I do like to watch,” he responds with a grin. Then, he uses his God powers to force Eileen to take the scalpel and approach Sam and he stands back with a smile as he forces Eileen do the dirty work on his behalf.
Chuck is sitting back, strumming on a guitar as Eileen basically tortures Sam. Sam says that he’s going to end up dying here and it seems that Chuck is annoyed that his little torture method isn’t working. He stops Eileen and heals the wound on Sam’s shoulder, sends Eileen away, and he becomes infuriated. “How are you still like this?” he shouts. He knows that Sam is being defiant, and he suddenly realizes that it’s because he still has hope. Sam is what is stopping Chuck.
Chuck tells Sam that the hope he has is misplaced though. He admits that it’s entirely possible that they could win against him, but they probably really don’t want to. He asks Sam if he really wants to know what would happen if they won, and with a clap of his hands, we are sent to what is the first in a series of visions into their future.
In the first vision, Sam and Eileen are doing some research at the bunker while Dean is snoozing away before being woken up to which he responds that he was “just resting his eyes.” Cas enters with beers for everyone and Dean suggests a movie night. It’s a seemingly sweet scene until Sam gets a phone call from Jody, who is upset and she goes on about a vampire nest raid gone wrong. Claire is apparently dead because of it.
The peek into part of their future ends and Chuck tells Sam that that is just the beginning of the awful outcome of them defying him. For now, Chuck can’t change Sam’s mind though. He then holds up a pocket watch, that will work as a sort of time-turner that will bring them to different points in time, and continues to show Sam the future.
Sam is brought to little snippets of the year 2021; driving in the Impala with Dean as they talk about innocent people dying in a botched raid, and probably most unsettling, a future where Dean has given up. Here, Dean is telling his brother that it is time to stand down. They’ve lost people they care about, Cas has gone mad from the mark of Cain and is locked away in the Ma’lak box, and they don’t even save people anymore. Apparently Donna and the girls are dead, and possibly even Eileen. “We lost, brother. We lost,” Dean says in an a surprising moment of defeat from someone we never see give up.
As Chuck steps into the vision, he asks if Sam is enjoying the show, but he’s clearly not. Sam knows he’s just showing him all of this in an attempt to make him give up hope, but Chuck insist that he’s just the messenger here. Sam knows this can’t be real though, because Dean would never give up like this, right?
Chuck tells Sam that he now has control of what he sees next and Sam holds up the watch, winds it up, and it gets stuck. Chuck says that this means it’s the end of the line. This will be the ending of their story, and the final vision is an unnerving one.
This time, it’s the year 2022. Future Dean and Sam are seen blocking a door to a room that they are in. A couple of guys with guns come up the stairs just outside the room and Bobby and Jody join them. Bobby looks concerned and reminds Jody that this is Sam and Dean, and I get the feeling that this won’t be a meeting between friends. Back inside the room, we find out that Sam and Dean are not not themselves anymore. When they bare their teeth, preparing for the oncoming attack, it’s clear that they’re now vampires and they’re the ones being hunted. The hunters break in and attack. Jody shoots Sam and Dean attacks her, biting her neck and killing her. Bobby finishes killing Sam and I can only guess that both brothers die in a truly unexpected way.
Chuck and present day Sam are back in the casino now. Chuck apologizes to Sam, saying that it’s a crappy ending and the brothers deserve better. It hurts him to see this ending and he only wants the best for Sam and Dean. Sam is rightfully confused and horrified. He then reminds Chuck that’s this can’t be real because he’s already seen his plans (you know, because of that pesky connection they share from their wounds), but he insists that Sam doesn’t know what he saw.
While all of that is going on, and after Dean has heard just the beginning of what is going on at the casino, Dean is set on saving his brother. He and Cas have tracked the phone call to Milford, Nebraska and Dean is ready to go. But Cas is more focused on what’s important right now. He doesn’t believe Chuck will kill Sam and if they want to win this, they need to go to Purgatory to get the final item they need for their spell, the Leviathan blossom. After a bit of arguing and Castiel telling Dean to stop being so stupid, it seems as if Dean realizes that he’s right.
So, they do what they need to do and head to Purgatory. Dean recommends that they split up but Cas squashes that thought and they head out together. As they’re wandering, someone steps out from behind a tree, but turns out he’s a Leviathan. Cas throws him and Dean knows it has been following them and threatens it with his Leviathan killing Borax filled shotgun shells. The Leviathan then conveniently remembers that there is a blossom that grows out of decaying Leviathan corpses and he knows where to find them. Dean asks about Benny again and the Leviathan says that Benny is dead.
As they walk, Cas is apologizing to Dean about Benny being dead. He’s apologizing for a lot; the leviathans, everything that has happened, and for Jack. Dean is mad that Cas left and Cas reminds him that he didn’t give him a choice and, “I left because you didn’t stop me.” Ouch.
Finally, Dean and Cas are led to the Leviathan blossoms. But, Cas suddenly gets stuck and it turns out there’s an angel trap surrounding the area. It was a trap all along. Turns out, the mother of monsters, Eve, has beef with Cas and wants to settle the score and this dude they’re with is gonna bring him to her. More Leviathan show up, Dean is knocked out and when he wakes up some time later, Cas is gone and he’s all alone.
With time running out fast, Dean sets out to search for Cas. He stops during his search for a moment and begins to pray to Cas out loud. It’s a very emotional moment from Dean (in which Jensen Ackles gives a truly heart wrenching performance) as he admits to the fact that he should have stopped Cas from leaving. He calls Cas his best friend, but not stopping him was easier than him being wrong. For the first time, Dean is being open about his anger and how it’s too hard to stop the feelings the he has from blowing up. He’s forgiven Cas and he’s honestly apologetic. If nothing else, this scene was a real moment of growth for Dean as he came to terms with the feelings that he tends to hold inside (Seriously though, can someone give Ackles an Emmy already?).
Dean eventually finds his friend and the two hug and Cas tells him about how he gave himself up to the Levithan and took one of the blossoms. Eventually, he fought the Leviathan and escaped, but they’re still looking for him. Dean then tells Cas that he needs to tell him something, but Cas stops him, telling him that he heard Deans prayer. They don’t say anything else about it, and instead head for their exit.
Back home, they finally put together that spell that they need to get rid of Chuck. Cas says he will bear the mark this time since Dean can’t. A bright blue light is put into a sphere of some sort, and it appears that the guys now have their weapon prepared. Cas reminds Dean that either he or Sam have to make sure they destroy the sphere when the time is right. What could go wrong?
At the casino, Sam’s is still insistent that they will defeat Chuck, but Chuck tells him that they can’t. There’s a lot more to the universe that they don’t understand, and if they did destroy him, well, it would be catastrophic. Without God, the dark forces would prevail, monsters would rule, and everyone would die. He asks him if he could really live with that reality, and it’s clear that Sam is torn.
Dean and Cas finally show up at the casino and they find Sam but Eileen suddenly attacks Dean. Again, she’s being controlled by Chuck. Cas tackles her to the ground and Chuck steps in. Dean immediately swings at Chuck, makes contact, but Chuck is unaffected. Turns out, Chuck hits back, and he sends Dean flying. Sam frees himself and Cas rolls the sphere to him, knowing that he can destroy it, but Sam hesitates even as Cas directs him on what to do. Chuck stands idly by, waiting, taunting Sam. But Sam can’t do it and he drops the sphere and it rolls toward Chuck. Dean asks what he’s done to Sam and just then, the wound on Chuck’s shoulder begins to glow. Chuck is suddenly super hyped. In fact, I haven’t seen him look this excited all season. Chuck explains that the wounds are healed. Sam has given up hope, thus freeing him from their connection. Chuck then picks up the sphere and crushes it in his hand.
Dean says the story won’t go this way. Sam has seen Chuck’s story, and they know what he’s planning. Chuck then tells them that Sam’s visions weren’t drafts to the story. He was never seeing God’s plans for the boys. What he saw were Chuck’s memories. Memories of other Sams and other Deans in other worlds. “They didn’t think they’d do it either,” he says. “But they did, and you will too.”
“Not this Sam and Dean,” Dean argues. He tells Chuck to go play with his other toys because they’re not going to give him the ending he wants. “We’ll see…” Chuck says just before disappearing.
I just have to add that I am enthralled by Rob Benedict’s performance this season, especially in this episode. We get just hints of Chuck’s character from previous seasons; the hesitation in hurting Sam, maybe because he really does care about the boys; and the occasional moments of empathy over the bad things that are happening in these memories. All of that is wonderfully balanced with the vengeful and sadistic Chuck that we’ve gotten to know recently.
Back in the bunker, Eileen is preparing to leave. Sam wants her to stay, but she’s shook up over what happened. She isn’t sure what’s real anymore. Sam kisses her and says, “I know that was real.” (Maybe there’s still hope for these two). After she leaves, Sam joins the others in the kitchen. Our defeated heroes have to address what happened. Sam explains what Chuck showed him, and he can’t help but to believe him this time. Dean accepts his reasoning and the guys know that while Chuck is gone for now, he’ll be back. They also know that they can’t kill or trap him, so what else can they do. One thing’s for sure, they’ll find another way. They always do.
Before the episode ends, we get treated to just a brief scene that makes me so excited for what’s to come. It’s Jack, still in the Empty, and Billie appears behind him and tells him, “it’s time.”
With their one hope at defeating God (literally) crushed, and the connection between Sam and Chuck now gone, will the boys be able to figure out another way to win? Is it even possible at this point? I don’t know, but I have a feeling that Billie has big plans for Jack, and she just might have something up her sleeve.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and make sure to tune in next week for “The Heroes’ Journey” which airs on the CW on Thursday, January 23.