The title of this episode certainly hit the nail on the head. Despair was the constant emotion felt throughout viewing. We said goodbye to a number of characters, including one that’s been with us for a long time, and the world is desolate as the Winchesters try to figure out where we go from here.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
We pick up immediately where we left off, with Jack on the verge of explosion after Chuck’s dire warning. As he learned from his fathers, Jack asserts self-sacrifice in begging them to just let him go, get him far away before the explosion occurs for fear he might injure them in the process. But they are a family and they’re not about to give up on Jack without a fight. Too bad they’ve got yet another immortal entity mad at them.
Billie is not pleased that they did not follow through on the plan. They were so close to taking out Chuck, but now he’s gone, Jack’s still a bomb, and the world is in peril. Cas begging her to help Jack does not end well either. She doesn’t save him, but merely puts him in the Empty where his explosion can’t do as much damage. Maybe he survives, maybe he doesn’t, but that’s not her concern. If he does, and if the Empty does, there’s going to be some very angry reactions from the latter. The scales are thrown into imbalance.
She’s also there to collect on what’s rightfully hers – God’s Death Book. Now that the story has changed, she wants to learn the new ending. And despite Sam’s reluctance to turn it over, the fact that there’s no guarantee she won’t stab them in the back, she seems pleased to read what’s inside when it is returned. And perhaps it has to do with Jack still playing a role in the larger narrative, because when she brings him back she immediately lays claim upon him again. Good for her, but it’s not going to end up that way. Dean is mad and someone’s going to have to pay. Which Billie does, in a way, because Dean manages to stab her in the shoulder with her own scythe; left behind once she disappears. Now she’s even more ticked off, along with Dean, and it’s only a matter of time before the anger boils over into a destructive ending.
That night, Sam finds Dean drinking alone and decides to join him. The situation feels hopeless. Billie wants them dead, Chuck is probably more powerful than ever with Amara absorbed, and Michael’s not returning their prayers. They often pull off a miracle and find a way out of dire situations, but this time Dean feels like the solution isn’t going to emerge. This becomes even more evident when we see the destruction begin. Charlie’s hunter girlfriend is the first to pay the price. One minute Stevie is making scrambled eggs for Charlie, then she suddenly disappears. And it happens again, with another Apocalypse!World refugee. One by one, Death’s wishes seem to be coming true. Everyone is being put back to where they belong, whether there’s a world to go back to or not.
The one that hit me the hardest was Eileen. Sam was in contact with her, texting her to wait out by her car so they can come pick her up. He’s desperate to keep her safe, scaring her in the process, but as long as he can get there in time it will be worth it. Except, he doesn’t get there in time. She stops typing in the middle of their conversation and when they get there they find her pocketbook along with her dropped phone, a message half-typed, but no Eileen. It was too much and my tears started flowing as a result. But Sam can’t break down now. If he does, he will never stop. Instead, he focuses on trying to save those that are left.
Sam puts the word out to try and get everyone protected that is in danger. They can gather everyone in a central location and put up all the warding possible in order to try to cast a protective barrier around them. Good plan, and Sam’s tasked to do that along with Jack. Meanwhile, Dean’s got another plan. He’s going to go and finish off Death once and for all. Since she left her scythe behind, he can kill her with it, and that’s just what he’s going to do. Cas joins him in his mission and the ominousness of this episode increased tenfold at that point.
Thus begins the dual mission storylines. Donna finds an abandoned silo where the refugees can gather. Sam and Jack join her there, along with Bobby, Charlie, and the hunters who have arrived thus far. Will the warding work? Can they protect the hunters from being taken away? There’s no guarantee, but it’s the best Sam’s got so far. We also got a hint that Jack’s powers were returning, as he managed to kill a plant growing within the silo by just passing his hand over it. Hopefully this will serve them well in the upcoming battle, as they need all the help they can get.
Then, as if the tears from Eileen’s disappearance wasn’t enough, the tragedy grew. Dean and Cas make it to Death’s library, where she’s waiting for them. And while Dean manages to get another cut delivered to Billie, she tells them that the first cut was already fatal. She’s going to die, but it’s not her that’s taking out their friends in revenge. Chuck’s plan is coming to fruition after all. Back at the silo we see that play out in vivid detail. The wards don’t work and people start disappearing, one by one. We see the other hunters vanish, then Charlie and Bobby. And you’d think that would be enough, but no. Donna disappears as well. Chuck’s not just taking out the refugees, he’s taking out everyone. The world is going to be wiped of all people.
I had semi-prepared myself for goodbyes, but the last one was hard. Dean and Cas escape back to the bunker with Billie on their heels. She starts crushing Dean’s heart and Cas drags him through the hallways in an effort to escape. They took refuge in the records room and attached dungeon, where Cas puts a blood sigil on the door to keep them safe and release Billie’s hold on Dean. It’s a stop-gap and they both know it. While Cas wants to wait her out until she dies, or fight if she doesn’t, Dean is facing the stark reality of what is to come. He just led them into another trap and they’ll lose. Dean’s need to kill, yet inability to stop Chuck, was what put them into this situation. Death will get through that door and kill Cas, then Dean. There’s no way out.
This is when the ultimate sacrifice came into play, and I applaud both Misha and Jensen on the fine acting that occurred during the scene. Cas knows they are going to die, but also knows one thing Billie is afraid of. He made a deal with the Empty to save Jack’s life, now it’s time to pay in order to save Dean’s. When Cas experiences a moment of true happiness, the Empty will be summoned and take him. So, he lets all his true feelings out in order to have that one perfect moment.
Castiel: I know. I know how you see yourself, Dean. You see yourself the same way our enemies see you. You’re destructive and you’re angry and you’re broken. You’re — You’re “Daddy’s Blunt Instrument.” And you think that hate and anger that’s — that’s what drives you. That’s who you are. It’s not. And everyone who knows you sees it. Everything you have ever done, the good and the bad you have done for love. You raised your little brother for love. You fought for this whole world for love. That is who you are. You’re the most caring man on Earth. You are the most selfless, loving human being I will ever know. You know, ever since we met, ever since I pulled you out of Hell, knowing you has changed me. Because you cared, I cared. I cared about you. I cared about Sam. I cared about Jack. I cared about the whole world because of you. You changed me, Dean.
Dean: Why does this sound like a goodbye?
Castiel: Because it is. I love you.
And with that, and a symbolic bloody handprint on Dean’s arm to match the one he originally gave him when he pulled Dean from Hell, Cas pushes Dean out of the way to safety. The Empty takes both Cas and Death, leaving Dean alone on the floor in a sobbing mess and I was right there with him. Cas is gone, the world’s population is as well, and there’s just Sam, Dean, and Jack to deal with the aftermath. The end is coming so soon and the tears will surely be never-ending before it’s all said and done.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars