Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW
Devil's Bargain

Well, things aren’t looking up for… anyone. This week’s episode followed two central stories: The effort to fix Jack and Nick’s journey to get answers about his family’s murder. And like I mentioned, neither had happy endings. But what we got instead were some great Jack-Dean moments and a fascinating Nick story that allowed Mark Pellegrino to shine.

Let’s start with the Nick of it all. Reminder: The last time we saw Nick, he took a hammer to his ex-neighbor Arty’s head. And now, it seems he’s addicted to his killing spree. His latest victim? A priest that he nailed to a wall before slitting his neck. As Nick puts it, he didn’t want to kill the priest, but he feels so good after it’s done. And yes, this is potentially one of the most ironic moments in the show’s history: Lucifer’s vessel killing a priest. Because, as Nick puts it, sometimes we can’t fight the devil.

From there, Nick travels to Wilmington, where he finds Diane, the crime reporter who worked on his family’s story. She reminds him that there was almost no evidence when it came to the murders, but she does remember one thing: The name of the beat cop who was working the neighborhood that night. It was a man named Frank who now resides in Montauk.

But before he heads to Montauk, Nick has to feed his addiction. He pulls into an alley behind a club where a woman is making a phone call. Nick tries to resist the urge but fails. He steps out of the car, knife in hand, but when the woman is kind to him — she invites him inside — he stops himself from killing her and instead, yells at her to get away from him.

With that woman saved, Nick takes his built-up anger to the home of Frank, the beat cop. There, Nick reveals what Arty told him just before Nick killed him. It turns out Arty did remember the man he saw that night. He told Nick that he saw a cop leaving his house, but when he tried to report it, the other cops threatened him. With that, Frank explains what happened the night Nick’s family died. After Nick’s wife called and reported a prowler outside her house, Frank showed up. There, he met someone named Abraxas — a name that Nick recognizes because Lucifer knew it. According to Frank, he doesn’t remember anything that happened between meeting Abraxas and the moment he left the house covered in blood.

Nick connects the dots and realizes that Frank was possessed, a fact that almost saves Frank… almost. Regardless of possession, Nick has finally found the man that killed his family, and he’s not about to let him live. And so, he takes a hammer to Frank’s head.

This entire time, Nick’s been telling everyone that if he can find the man responsible for his family’s murder, he’ll be free of this rage, but that was a lie. “I like doing these things, and I don’t want to stop,” he says, kneeling to pray. Only, he’s not praying to God. He’s praying to Lucifer. “I’m bonded to you,” Nick says. And as Nick talks, we flash to what I assume is the Big Empty. With every moment Nick prays to Lucifer, a skeleton begins to form out of the blackness. “I don’t know who I am if I’m not you,” Nick says. He wants to be Lucifer again, to feel no pain. “I don’t want to feel now what I didn’t then,” he says. “Where are you?” Just then, the skeleton opens its eyes… and they’re red! And as much as I’m enjoying this Nick story, I’m always down for more Lucifer! (Next: Three men and a sick teen)

As for the Jack of it all, the episode starts with the boys making a very unusual decision: When Castiel can’t figure out what’s wrong with Jack and starts foaming at the mouth, they take him to the hospital. It’s rare that these guys turn to regular humans for help, but here we are. Once Sam, Dean, and Cas answer all the questions they can — Jack’s name, age, the fact that his father exploded — the doctors start running tests. Only, the tests all come back negative. All they know is that Jack is in total systemic failure, but they’re not sure why. So perhaps there’s a reason these guys typically avoid hospitals.

Sam and Dean agree to take Jack back to the bunker, where Rowena will meet up with them. The problem is that Rowena thinks she’s come to help Dean, not Lucifer’s son, and needless to say, she’s not too happy about it. She’s of the opinion that the world is a better place without Lucifer, and the same can be said for his son. But when Jack shows up and thanks her for saving all of them from the Apocalypse World, he wins her over with his puppy dog eyes.

Rowena quickly deduces that when Jack’s grace was taken, his being fell into chaos. His cells are eating one another, but she doesn’t know how to stop it. Meanwhile, as Rowena’s talking, Dean seems like he’s about to pass out? His vision is blurring, and I have a lot of questions.

Dean’s the one who finds Jack packing up his backpack. If Jack only has a few weeks left to live, he wants to LIVE. As he puts it, he wants to get a tan, see a hockey game, get a parking ticket, and get bored. It’s not the best bucket list, but Dean gets the idea. And so, while Rowena, Cas and Sam research, Dean takes Jack out for a burger and a joyride.

Realizing how sad Jack’s bucket list was, Dean makes an edit: He adds driving Baby to the list. After they pick up some food, Dean hands over his keys and teaches Jack how to drive, a move that should tell you everything you need to know about how much Dean cares for Jack — he was willing to put Baby in danger for him. The ride gets off to a rough start, but it then delivers this moment…

Jack: “It’s like I’m you!”
Dean: “No. It’s not!”

Jack’s “best day ever” continues with an activity that’s Jack’s idea: He and Dean go fishing. It was something Dean once told Jack that he’d done with his father. After all, Jack doesn’t need to go to Vegas or Tahiti, because if he doesn’t make it, the thing he’ll miss is more time with Dean. “I’ve had a good life,” Jack tells Dean, but Dean isn’t ready to let go. (As Castiel tells Sam, “losing a son feels different” than everyone they’ve lost before.)

And hopefully, Dean won’t have to let go. Ketch points them in the direction of a shaman that the British Men of Letters used to use to “solve the unsolvable,” and Castiel immediately volunteers to pay the guy a visit. The shaman hands Castiel some of Gabriel’s grace — he swapped it for the cloaking spell that he used to hide in Monte Carlo — and a spell. All he wants in exchange is for Cas to tell the Winchesters that they owe him. (That’s never good.)

Rowena does the spell, and it works for a second. Jack’s eyes even turn yellow. But then he collapses and is suddenly worse than before. According to the shaman, it was all an experiment. He wasn’t sure it was going to work. Now, Rowena tells the guys that all they can do is be there for Jack as he dies.

And that’s where we end. Both stories worked for me this week. I love the Nick mystery, and if it’s leading to a Lucifer resurrection, I am ALL about it. And watching Jack get to have a bit of fun with Dean was nothing if not lovely. I’m not too worried about Jack at this point, but I’ve been wrong before. Right now I’d just really like to know what’s going on with Dean…

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Devil's Bargain

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

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