By Samantha Highfill
March 16, 2020 at 10:01 PM EDT

Well guys, Supernatural is finally back, and that means we're in it for the final stretch (at least through episode 18 ... for now). And the first episode back was an unexpected return to an old story: The Bad Place.

But first, we open on Earth 2, where Hillary Clinton is president and Chuck decides it's time for another monologue. After walking into a Radio Shed — get it? — where he finds a wall of TVs, he explains that in the beginning, he wasn't satisfied with life with his sister, and so, he created the world. But he didn't stop there. He made other worlds with other endings, his "other toys," as he calls them. And now, he's wondering if that's where he screwed up. Maybe he got a little toy-crazy because ultimately, he doesn't care about all the other endings, all the other Sams and Deans. Those other toys, he says, don't "spark joy." (Someone binged Tidying Up.) The real Sam and Dean challenge Chuck, they disappoint him, they surprise him. They're the ones.

Realizing that he needs fewer things in his life, he decides to clear the board: End all the other worlds, the alternate realities, the subplots, the "failed spinoffs." "It's time to start canceling shows," he says, another great meta moment from the writers of the series. And so, he does just that.

Back at the bunker, on our Earth, Sam, Dean, and Castiel are still processing what Jack told them about Billie's plan to have him eat angel hearts in order to one day defeat God. Sam's unsure about everything, the only one to bring up the idea of cosmic balance if God dies, but Castiel wants to trust Jack, and Dean believes in Billie. And for now, it's the only plan they got.

Still unsure, Sam pays Jack a visit, where he finds the Nephilim talking to "nobody," a.k.a. the reaper assigned to keep an eye on him. Sam tells Jack that he could've come to them, and Jack assures him he knows, but the conversation does very little to help Sam's stress level, which is appropriately HIGH.

In the library, Dean and Cas are significantly less stressed, sharing a drink and toasting to Castiel being right about Jack and God being killed by his own grandson. But the drinks are put on hold when Jody calls. Dark Kaia has her trapped in a barn in Sioux Falls and she needs their help.

Sam and Dean head that way, and once they get Dark Kaia to stop beating them up, she explains that they promised to get her back to her world, and now, her world is dying ... and there's more. So our Kaia's not dead after all. She's been in the Bad Place this whole time, and now they have to save her before that world ends.

The boys take Jody and Kaia back to the bunker, where Castiel is currently losing to Jack at Connect 4 because if they're not on a mission, they have time for games?! When Jody walks in, she finally gets to meet the famous Castiel — or he gets to meet the famous Jody, whichever way you look at it. Then, Dark Kaia explains her situation, and seeing as how Jack isn't allowed to use his powers (lest God find him), they disperse and try to come up with another plan.

Spoiler: They fail. Instead of finding an answer to their problem, Jody and Castiel end up having a heart-to-heart about Claire, who's apparently out of cell range in Yosemite, which is one of many reasons why Jody hasn't brought her up-to-date on the Kaia situation, another being that if they can't save Kaia, it would kill Claire.

When Jack goes to Dark Kaia, he uses his powers to get a glimpse of our Kaia, and feeling responsible for her being stuck there, he tells Sam and Dean he wants to help. But his reaper guardian isn't too keen on the idea. She warns him that his idea isn't just dumb, it's "Winchester dumb," but, like a true Winchester, he refuses to back down. In the end, the reaper explains that the boys never restored the warding on the bunker after Amara. With Castiel's help, the reaper thinks she can boost the warding long enough for Jack to help them. (The warding would keep Chuck from sensing Jack.) And it works.

With one spell and Jack's help, they open a rift to the Bad Place, and Sam and Dean accompany Dark Kaia through it. (Castiel convinces Jody to stay behind for Claire's sake.) There, the boys run into a pack of monsters, but it's clear they don't want to fight. They're simply scared. And can you blame them? Their world is ending. Dark Kaia leads them to our Kaia, and when the boys turn to take her home, Dark Kaia decides to stay and die with her world.

Our Kaia, however, makes it back to the bunker where she thanks the boys before heading home to Sioux Falls, and Claire, with Jody.

But this story doesn't have a happy ending. When Billie shows up and kills her reaper, she informs the boys that all of Chuck's worlds are dying, every one but this one. Chuck is wiping the slate clean, which is why Sam wants to know more about Billie's plan. And so, she explains that when she became Death, she inherited all of Death's knowledge, as well as his library. And in that library, everyone has a book, even God. (Cut to Death telling Dean in season 5 that he will reap God one day.)

Billie explains that God didn't write these books. They write themselves. It's his only weakness. And no one can read their book unless Death lets them. Apparently, Jack and the Winchesters are in God's book. That's why Billie told Dean that they still had work to do. "This is your destiny," she tells Sam and Dean. "You are the messengers of God's destruction." So, you know, no pressure.

Back at the Radio Shed, God calls it a day. He's been ending worlds for weeks and he still isn't done. Speaking of, Earth 2 has to go: As he leaves the store, a meteor shower reigns down.

I have to say, I was surprised to see Dark Kaia again. I didn't feel like I needed more from that story, though I'm glad Kaia's alive. For me, the best parts of this episode were the beginning and the end, because that's the stuff that really moves this final season toward its end. Chuck is ending worlds, and that means he'll be back with our Sam and Dean soon. And now, Sam and Dean have once again been told their destiny, much in the way they were in season 5 ... let's see if this time it comes true.

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