This episode begins with the appearance of Robert Englund (better known as Freddy Kreuger from Nightmare on Elm Street) as a doctor who works out of the back room of a Chinatown butcher shop. He’s stitched up John Winchester many times over the years, but now it’s Dean seeking him out, for some sort of procedure which, apparently, has a 75% success rate. I’m thinking a vasectomy, but no, he’s going to go all Flatliners.
In the seven minutes that he’s dead, Dean casts a spell to summon Tessa, a Reaper (as in the Grim kind). But he doesn’t really want Tessa, he wants her boss … Death.
Dean figures that if there’s anyone they know who can get Sam’s soul out of its little hell box with Lucifer and Michael, it’s Death. And, in fact, he’s right. He tries to blackmail Death by threatening to not give his ring back (the ring was obtained at the end of last season, so that the Winchesters could trap Lucifer). Death is amused, because he knows exactly where the ring is being held. But still, he offers Dean a deal, a bet, and if successful he’ll give Sam’s soul back and put up a wall that will hold back the memories of his torments … for a time. Possibly even a lifetime.
The terms of the bet: Dean has to wear Death’s ring for a day.
Actually, Dean originally asks Death to get Sam’s soul and also their other brother (half-brother) Adam, which is the body that the Archangel Michael rode into the prison. This is the first time this season that I recall anyone pointing out that there’s another Winchester brother trapped in there, who is probably being just as tormented as Sam is. Death, however, makes him choose a brother, and there’s really no question which one he’s going to choose.
Sam is not happy with this plan, because he still thinks that his soul is so damaged that it’ll destroy him. He’d rather be the slightly damaged amoral soulless Sam than a tormented and twisted Sam. So, while Dean goes off to give Death a holiday, Sam summons the corrupt angel Balthazar to find out whether there’s a spell or talisman he can use to keep his soul out.
It turns out that there is a way to keep the soul out, but it involves “scarring the vessel,” so corrupting Sam’s body, that the soul finds it uninhabitable. How to do this? Patricide. And, with John Winchester already dead, that means that Bobby will have to act as a surrogate. In the words of Balthazar: “You need the blood of your father, but your father needn’t be blood.”
Meanwhile, Dean is wearing his trainee badge with Tessa. (No, not literally, although that would have been funny.) The terms of the bet are simple: wear the ring and touch the people Tessa tells him to. If he takes the ring off or slacks off, then he loses the bet and Death won’t give him Sam’s soul.
The first death is an easy one, an armed robber who, after threatening to shoot a kid, is instead shot by the convenience store clerk. Dean lets him linger in agonizing pain for a bit, then touches him.
“Why?” the robber asks, upon realizing he’s dead.
“Mostly ’cause you’re a dick,” Dean says. “Enjoy the ride down, pal. Trust me, son, it gets hot.”
The second death is a heart attack.
“What does it all mean?” the man asks.
“Everything is dust in the wind,” Dean answers.
“That’s it? A Kansas song?!?”
The third … a 12-year-old girl with a heart condition, whose father has no other family. Dean refuses to take her. Tessa says it’s destiny and Dean can’t fight it, but Dean argues that he’s spent his life fighting destiny. Tessa points out that every time they’ve fought destiny it’s turned out badly.
“Well, I know this much,” Dean says. “I’m Death, she’s 12, and she’s not dying today.”
After she has a miraculous recovery and doesn’t need her surgery, the heart surgeon and nurse go home. The nurse, however, is in a car accident and is brought back in. Since the heart surgeon isn’t there, she dies. Dean apologizes, since it’s his fault she’s dead.
Back at Bobby’s place, Dean’s trying to commit patricide. Bobby hides in a closet, causing Sam to go all Jack Nicholson on it with an axe. It was a trap, though. Bobby has a trap door outside the closet, and he dumps Sam into the basement. (Tip: If you’re a demon hunter, rig your house with crazy booby traps … and make the basement door out of reinforced steel with titanium kick plates.)
Unfortunately, Sam takes a ladder into the panic room and pries open the sewer grate at the top, to get back to the surface. (Why Bobby, for all his precautions, has outside access in the panic room is beyond me.) While Bobby is looking for him, Sam’s able to knock him unconscious.
Back at the hospital, Tessa is trying to convince Dean that he has to kill the 12-year-old girl, or misery and death will follow her throughout her life. Out the window, he sees the nurse’s despondent husband leaving a bar and getting into his car. He teleports into the car to try to convince the guy to pull over, but of course he’s Death, so the guy can’t see him. Instead, he is heading toward a loaded bus.
Dean yanks off the ring, becoming visible (and losing the bet). He grabs the wheel, turning the car just in time, but it careens into a parked car. Fortunately for air bags, neither Dean nor the husband are killed. (Remember, kids, always buckle up.)
Even though he’s lost the bet, Dean puts the ring back on. He goes and takes the girl.
“I thought you wanted her to skate by,” Tessa says.
“Nobody really skates by, do they?” he replies.
Sam’s about ready to kill Bobby right when Dean shows back up, catching his hand as he’s swinging the knife and then punching him unconscious. They lock Sam up in Bobby’s panic room.
Death shows up to have a little chat with Dean. Not only does he believe that Dean has learned a little something about mucking up the natural order of things, he’s going to go back to get Sam’s soul.
“Why would you do that for me?” Dean asks.
“I wouldn’t do it for you. You and your brother keep coming back. You’re an affront to the balance of the universe and you cause disruption on a global scale.”
“I apologize for that,” Dean says, with an uncharacteristic level of humility in his voice.
“But you have use. Right now, you’re digging at something. The intrepid detective. I want you to keep digging, Dean.”
“So you just going to be cryptic or …”
“It’s about the souls. You’ll understand when you need to.”
“Wait. With Sam, is this wall thing really going to work?”
“Call it 75 percent.”
Death puts the soul back into Sam, warning that the barrier in his mind might be a little itchy. “Do me a favor: don’t scratch the wall, because, trust me, you’re not going to like what happens.”
So, as we enter a hiatus until the end of January, here is where things stand with the Supernatural plotline:
- Sam has his soul back, but no memories of the torments of hell. If he scratches the wall, bad things will happen.
- Their grandfather, Samuel, has betrayed the boys. Dean has sworn to kill him the next time he sees him.
- Castiel’s side of the war for control of Heaven is not going well.
- They’ve killed Crowley, who was in charge of Hell. Presumably someone new will be trying to take charge there at some point in the near future.
- Adam’s soul is still stuck in the box with Michael & Lucifer.
- Purgatory is out there and, apparently, is the place where monsters go when they die. Crowley believed that the Alphas of the different monster races could provide some key on how to find it.
- The thing they’re investigating – Purgatory and/or the Alphas, presumably – is of interest to Death. “It’s about the souls.”
Here are some predictions about the rest of the season:
- The fairies (along with leprechaun Robert Picardo) will be back. It’s possible that the fairy world will play a major role in figuring out what’s up with Purgatory.
- The corrupt angel Balthazar will be a major player in the season’s climax. I don’t think he’ll take over Hell, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes a move to run Purgatory, thus gaining control over the various races of monsters.
- Samuel will make a deal with Balthazar to bring his daughter, Mary Winchester, back from the dead.
- Meg will take over control of Hell.
- Now that Sam has his soul back, he will be focused on getting Dean back with Lisa and Ben.
- Castiel will lose the war for control of Heaven. Cast out of paradise, he will focus his energies on keeping Balthazar from taking over Purgatory. In doing this, he will possibly team up with the demon Meg, for whom he has romantic (or at least lustful) feelings.
- If the show is not renewed for a seventh season (though both lead actors have extended their contracts for a year), God will show up in the form of either John or Mary Winchester for the series finale.
- Episode 6.10 – “Caged Heat”
- Episode 6.9 – “Clap Your Hands If You Believe”
- Episode 6.8 – “All Dogs Go to Heaven”
- Episode 6.7 – “Family Matters”
- Episode 6.6 – “You Can’t Handle the Truth”
- Episode 6.5 – “Live Free or Twi-hard”
- Episode 6.4 – “Weekend at Bobby’s”
- Episode 6.3 – “The Third Man”
- Episode 6.2 – “Two and a Half Men”
- Episode 6.1 – “Exile on Main Street”
- Supernatural Seasons 4 & 5
- Supernatural Seasons 2 & 3
- Supernatural Season 1
- Smart Pop Books – Supernatural: Reload