Rowena opens the rift to Apocalypse World, where [spoiler] dies

By Samantha Highfill
May 03, 2018 at 09:00 PM EDT
Beat the Devil
Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
S13 E21

In some ways, this episode felt like two episodes in one, and although I enjoyed the first half of it, the moment the boys stepped foot in Apocalypse World, it became something else entirely — something even more compelling (and even more heartbreaking). And then, I really loved it. I never thought I’d want the boys to enter Apocalypse World, but with the drama it’s providing so far, I never want them to leave. (Of course, I actually want them to leave, but you get what I’m saying.)

The hour starts with Sam, Dean, Castiel, Jack, and Mary enjoying a pizza party in the bunker. Dean, of course, is enjoying the pizza a bit too much while Sam helps Mary clean up. Mary tells her youngest son that she always knew her boys would save her…and then Sam wakes up from his dream. Mom’s not back. And he’s still sleeping in a bed that’s too small for him.

Back in reality, Rowena is preparing to open the rift. She has all the ingredients…well, sort of. Gabriel hands her what appears to be a VERY small serving of his grace, and unsurprisingly, it doesn’t do the trick. The rift closes seconds after she opens it.

Castiel’s the first to address the elephant in the room: If Gabriel doesn’t have enough grace, they need to find Lucifer. Of course Sam hates that plan, so while Sam, Dean, and Castiel head to the kitchen for a heart-to-heart, Gabriel and Rowena are left to discuss his failure to, um, perform. “It doesn’t make me any less of an archangel,” he tells her, the show having the most fun possible with this innuendo. And seeing as how Gabriel and Rowena have a little time on their hands before the “three amigos” finish with their “bro hugs, pep talks, and melodrama,” as Rowena puts it, they decide to fill that time by releasing the sexual tension in the room. YES, Gabriel and Rowena have sex. No, I’m not sure how I’m ever going to look at the library the same way.

In the kitchen, things are far more serious as Castiel gets real with Sam: They’ve been ignoring the fact that Lucy’s free because they’re afraid. But seeing as how they let him out of the cage, “he has never stopped being our responsibility,” Cas tells them. But when Dean brings up the fact that even if they do get Lucifer’s grace, they’ll only have 24 hours to find mom and Jack, Sam gets an idea. And once the three of them walk in on Gabriel and Rowena hooking up — I love Castiel’s reaction of refusing to lift his gaze from the floor — Sam tells them the plan.

Cut to Lucifer drinking bottle after bottle alone at a bar. Poor Lucy doesn’t feel like anything matters anymore. His son used to be the one thing that mattered to him but ever since he got back to earth, he hasn’t been able to feel him anymore. That’s when the bartender tells him that “Jack will come around.” Only Lucifer didn’t ever mention Jack’s name. Just then, Lucifer nearly falls off his barstool. He’s been drugged. And that bartender? It’s Gabriel! I’ve never loved his tricks more.

To further confuse Lucifer, Rowena then shows up and the archangel finds himself face-to-face with not one, but two people he thought he had killed. Rowena slaps some magical handcuffs on Lucifer, and when Gabriel pulls out the archangel blade, Lucifer does something no one expected: He starts to cry. “Put me out of my misery, go ahead,” he tells his brother. But instead, Gabriel knocks him out and takes him back to the bunker.

Once Lucifer regains consciousness, he has perhaps the greatest response to being in a room filled with enemies: “Oh look at this, all the people I love to torture in the same room,” he says. As for the occasion, he quickly figures out that they need his grace to get to the Apocalypse World. What he doesn’t realize is that they’re going to continue draining his grace to buy themselves more time to find mom and Jack. He’s their “grace on tap,” as Gabriel puts it. Then, when they return, they can kill him.

But for now, Rowena opens the rift and the guys jump through, leaving her behind to watch over Lucy, a task she’ll come to regret when the guy does everything he can to get under her skin and annoy her, including singing very loudly. Apparently she doesn’t have a spell to shut him up? More on that in a moment.

In Apocalypse World, the guys survive an unfortunate landing — I love that Dean slides down the hill without a problem but Gabriel ends up in Castiel’s crotch. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.) Castiel helps figure out where they are in the world, and they figure they’re about a two-day walk to Dayton, which is where they’ll supposedly find Jack and Mary.

Along the walk, Castiel updates Gabriel on the angel situation in heaven and suggests that Gabriel might be just the person to save the day. Meanwhile, Dean wants to know why Sam suddenly seems happier in Apocalypse World. For Sam it’s simple: They’ve been working all season to get here and save mom and Jack. Now it finally feels like it’s all within reach.

Just then, Sam and Dean hear a scream and as much as Gabriel would like for them to follow his philosophy — “not our world, not our problem” — Sam and Dean have a compulsive need to, well, save people and hunt things. So together, the boys head over and save a man and a woman from what they find out is a vampire. But compared to the vampires they’re used to dealing with, this one was on monster steroids. As the Apocalypse World citizens explain to them, Michael wiping out humans meant he wiped out a major food source for monsters. And what happens when monsters don’t have food? They go wild.

Furthermore, the Apocalypse Worlders tell the boys that they, too, were headed to Dayton. But after a trip through a tunnel killed seven of their friends — think: lots of hungry vamps — they turned back. Yes, there’s a way to avoid the tunnel, but it’s a much longer route, and the boys don’t have time to spare. Plus, they’ve never shied away from a vampire’s nest. So with a promise to protect their new friends, they head to the tunnel.

And this is where I started getting flashbacks to “The End” — and even “Wendigo” with those vamp ears — and I loved all of it. The boys enter the tunnel filled with vampires for a sequence straight out of a horror movie, one that beautifully used silence to its advantage and scarred me deeply as a viewer. Mostly because not everyone makes it out alive. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?!

After the boys take out a few vampires, they’re ambushed, and while Dean is pinned by one, Sam is taken down by two, and while Dean watches, one of the vampires takes an enormous bite out of Sam’s neck. I mean, he rips out his neck. Castiel gets to Sam first, and he’s the one to stop Dean from seeing his brother. “He’s gone,” Castiel tells Dean. “We don’t have time. Dean, we can’t save him.” And just like that, Dean turns and leaves the tunnel without his brother by his side.

Look, death is nothing new for this show. Sam dying isn’t even new to this show. But I will say that I love that the thing that took Sam out wasn’t Michael. It wasn’t some all-powerful archangel. It was something as simple as a vampire, a monster that Sam has killed a million times. And to have him scream Dean’s name while Dean watched? Let’s just say this show still finds a way to devastate me with a death, even when I know it’s not going to stick. (Next: Lucifer makes a bold move)

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Rowena runs out of chill when Lucifer starts talking about the day he killed her. So, she turns the tables on him and tells him all about how his son is in the Apocalypse World about to reunite with the only people he considers family. But when Lucifer gets angry, he gets powerful. And now that he has something to fight for, he breaks free from her witchy handcuffs and just as he’s about to kill her, she throws him back with a spell. Only, in doing so, she accidentally launches him into the Apocalypse World. Now, she’s left to try and figure out a way to keep the rift open without an archangel’s grace.

In Apocalypse World, Castiel, Gabriel, Dean, and the female they saved earlier — her male friend also died in the tunnel — arrive at some warding. And when Gabriel burns it off, Mary walks out. She heads straight to hug Dean, and when she asks about Sam, all he can do is cry.

But he won’t be crying for long. Sam wakes up back at the tunnel and he’s completely healed. The bad news? Lucifer’s the one that brought him back. It seems that Lucifer ate a few of Michael’s angel soldiers, replenished his grace, and resurrected Sam. So yeah, he’s kept himself busy since arriving in this world. Sam asks the devil what he wants, to which he gives this amazing response: “What do I want? I want what everyone wants. I want a personal apology from Pop, I want rerun-free year-round episodes of Drag Race.

When Sam tries to walk out, he’s greeted with a mob of hungry vamps at the door. Lucifer is the only thing holding them back. As for Lucifer’s real want: He wants a relationship with his son, and seeing as how Jack cares about Sam, Sam’s life is Lucy’s gift to his son. Now, all Sam has to do is acknowledge Lucifer’s good deed. And if he says no, well, he’ll be killed by vampires…again.

Cut to the end of the episode as everyone arrives back at the camp and Castiel tells Jack about Sam. Jack wants to know why Cas and Gabriel didn’t bring him back, but they explain that they’re simply not strong enough. Just then, Dean’s about to leave to head back and get Sam’s body when Sam walks around the corner. But the look of relief on Dean’s face quickly changes when, behind Sam, Lucifer appears. “Hello, son,” he says to Jack. AND THEN THE EPISODE ENDS.

I cannot say enough about how excited that ending makes me about what’s to come. I’m very much enjoying what Apocalypse World brings to the show. I know it took a while for everyone to get here, but it was worth the wait. Everyone’s finally together. The stakes feel higher than ever. And I’ve already cried twice. Bring on the end of this season.

Episode Recaps

Devil's Bargain


Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.

  • TV Show
  • 15
  • 309
  • TV-14
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