We gave it a B+
9/13/05 - 1/1/70
- TV Show
- genre new
- Fantasy, Drama
- Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins
- The CW
Dean Winchester is a simple man. The list of things he loves is fairly short, and it includes his brother, pie, bacon cheeseburgers, beer, and cowboys. And after the first episodes of season 13 found Dean in a dark, hopeless place, it was time to give him something to be happy about, and this week did just that by giving him Castiel back…and then sending him to Dodge City, Kansas.
Dodge City is actually where the episode begins, as Dean and some guy we’ve never met are clearly hunting something in a cemetery. But things take a turn when the aforementioned stranger gets pulled into the ground. Aaaaaaaand we flash back to the alley where we ended last week!
Dean and Sam are standing in front of Castiel, and needless to say, they’re very confused. Castiel explains that he was dead, “but then I annoyed an ancient cosmic being so much that he sent me back.” And because they’ve heard far stranger things — and because they want this to be true — the Winchesters accept the explanation and welcome Cas home with a couple of hugs. Cas then continues the update, letting them know that he was sleeping in the Empty until he heard someone say his name. He had assumed Sam and Dean had done something, and that’s when Sam gets an idea: It must’ve been Jack.
Speaking of Jack, the boys take Castiel back to the bunker and introduce him to Lucifer’s son, who, by the way, is also very confused. Sam asks Jack if he brought Cas back, but the toddler/teen isn’t sure. All he knows is that he wanted Cas to return. So…maybe?
Jack gives Cas a hug before showing him just how well he’s been doing. So far, he’s learned how to levitate a pencil AND use a computer. In fact, he’s found the guys a case that’s likely a grave robbery but that Jack is really hoping is zombies. (Spoiler: It’s neither.) When Dean hears that the case is in Dodge City, Kansas, he’s all in. As he puts it, “Dodge City’s kind of awesome.”
So with that, Team Free Will 2.0, as Dean calls them, is headed to Kansas, where they stay at the Stampede Motel, a place that could also be known as “Dean’s heaven.” Not only is he carrying what’s definitely the most luggage he’s ever brought on any trip ever — that cowboy life isn’t easy — but he’s walking around the room and marveling at photos of the world’s greatest gunfighters like he’s a kid in a candy store. As he later tells Sam, he needed a win, and getting Castiel back is a “pretty damn big win.”
Once Dean’s excitement calms down, the Winchesters go to bed while Jack and Cas take advantage of the fact that they don’t sleep (or Jack only sleeps a little) to catch up. Jack quickly realizes why his mother trusted Castiel. As for Jack, he remembers feeling safe with Cas. Cas reminds him that his mother thought he’d change the world for the better, and now, having met Jack, Castiel knows she was right.
Their conversation is interrupted when Jack sees an alert about another victim — and this one’s a cop. Super excited about his finding, Jack runs in to wake Dean up, a mistake he will only make once, because Dean is the kind of person who hates mornings and sleeps with a gun under his pillow. (Gun aside, I find morning Dean VERY relatable considering his first full sentence is “Who’s making me coffee?”)
Over said coffee, the guys come up with a plan: Cas and Dean will head to the crime scene (once Dean’s fully awake), and Sam and Jack will check out the graveyard.
First up, Castiel and Dean do their best to fit in, which means Dean is in a full-blown cowboy getup, and Castiel is wearing a cowboy hat with his trench coat and doing his best impression of Kurt Russell in Tombstone. Although, when Dean picks Agent Russell as his name, Cas is forced to think quickly, which we all know isn’t his strong suit. His choice? “Val Kilmer.” The full name. Thankfully, Sergeant Phillips over here doesn’t seem too suspicious. He tells the “Texas Rangers” that the victim — his nephew — had his throat slit. (Recap continues on page 2)
Meanwhile, Sam and Jack are introduced to Athena, Dodge City’s undertaker, who lets the guys check out the grave despite her suspicion that Jack is a little young even for an FBI trainee. Once in the grave — yes, you read that correctly — Sam manages to dig up a piece of the already dead victim’s bone, which is covered in bite marks. It seems we’re dealing with a ghoul, a.k.a. a monster that feeds on the dead and then can take on the form of whomever they’ve eaten. To kill them, you take off (or bash in) their heads. Or as Jack explains, they’re dealing with a “zombie shapeshifter.”
Jack, determined to prove his value on this trip, then tracks down a stolen truck on some traffic footage, and behind the wheel is none other than the famous gunfighter Dave Mather, which means Dean actually gets to fight a real gunslinger. Excuse him while he runs to get his boots.
Elsewhere, Dave is paying a visit to his girlfriend — the undertaker! It seems they’re in love and she’s been accepted to a school in Los Angeles, which means they need money. So with that in mind, Dave runs out to rob a bank (where S.E. Hinton is apparently a customer!).
The guys meet up with Dave in the parking lot, where a good old-fashioned gunfight takes place. Dean slides across the trunk of the car. It’s all very cool. But it doesn’t end well.
When Jack tries to use his powers to save the day, we learn that he’s impervious to bullets, but we also learn that the kid has poor timing. Just before he blasts the ghoul, the bank security guard runs out to try to help, and the poor guy gets caught in the crossfire. Jack hits the ghoul, but he also hits the security guard…and kills him. As for the ghoul, he gets away.
Back at the motel, Dean decides that Sam and Cas should take Jack home — it won’t be long before the cops show up looking for him. Dean will stay behind and handle the ghoul.
But Dean’s not alone. He teams up with local lawman Sergeant Phillips to take out Dave, which brings us back to the start of the episode. Remember the stranger who was pulled into a grave? It was Sergeant Phillips, and Dean has to go in after him, which results in Dean crawling through some seriously claustrophobic underground tunnels that eventually lead back to the undertaker’s mortuary. There, Dean finds a tied-up Athena, a wounded sergeant, and an armed Dave Mather.
I know what you’re thinking: Where is Dean’s gun? Well, he gave it to the sergeant, and as soon as he steps out of the way, the sergeant blows Dave’s handsome head right off. By episode’s end, Dean convinces the sergeant to say that Dave was also responsible for the death of the security guard, and with that loose end tied up, he heads home…where things aren’t so easily fixable.
On the car ride home, Cas and Sam tried to explain they still believe in Jack, but he shut them down. And now, as Dean, Sam, and Cas all talk to him, he does the same. Jack killed someone, and he’s not okay with that. And when he gets angry and Sam flinches, he realizes that they’re still scared of him, and maybe they should be. “Maybe I’m just another monster,” he says, to which Dean is the one to speak up and tell Jack that he’s wrong. “We’ve all done bad,” Dean says. “We all have blood on our hands, so if you’re a monster, we’re all monsters.”
But Jack’s different, because he hurts people when he tries to do good. “I can’t even do one good thing,” Jack continues. “I know that if I stay, I’m going to hurt you. All of you. And I can’t. You’re all I have. I have to go.” And before they can convince him otherwise, Jack blasts them all back and teleports out of the bunker. (So at least he’s getting better at that?)
After a number of heavier episodes, this was a much-needed hour of fun, with of course a dramatic ending. Between having Castiel back and seeing Dean smile again, there was a lot to love. But what did you think? Hit the comments below or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.