The show begins with Alt Michael strangling Dean in the bunker.  The word "Then" appears, and we see a quick summary of the end of last season's final episode:  Jack's eyes glowing as he overpowers AUMichael, Lucifer stealing Jack's grace, Dean shouting, "Sammy!" as Sam and Jack disappear with Lucifer, Dean saying he has no choice, his winged reveal in the chapel, the archangel fight, then his "We had a deal!" as Michael takes control.

NOW

Closeup of chains.  Lightning flashes. Among the shadowy debris lie broken angel statues, covered in cobwebs.  In this dark, derelict church, people stand in a row with their hands chained together above their heads.  A man with a beaten face leans forward over a high table, perhaps the altar.  Blood is dripping from his neck into a chalice.  Michael appears, with perfectly-parted hair, suave and debonaire, a leather apron covering his suit.  Suddenly he reaches out a swift hand to the man's neck; there is a white glow of grace.  He mixes the grace with the blood, swirls it together, then has the man drink it.  The man screams.  Red light suffuses his face and highlights his veins as he throw his head back and dies as his eyes burn out.  "Hmmmmmmmm," muses Michael.  "Disappointing."  He drags the man off, vacant black holes where his eyes once were, and dumps him on a pile of bodies, then turns toward the three people chained up.  "Who's next?" he asks, holding a curved blade.  

SUPERNATURAL logo and the title "Gods and Monsters"

Bobby, Mary, and Castiel are talking in the bunker, wondering why Michael would be in Duluth.  Bobby wishes he were in Florida.  Sam is researching and reports that bodies with burnt-out eyes have shown up in Duluth.  They're heading there, but Cas can't come.  First, Michael would sense his angelic presence, disallowing any sneak attack, and second, he is needed for "babysitting" Jack and Nick.  Sam says that it's not Nick's fault.  "That when I look at him I see the supreme agent of evil?"  elaborates Cas.  Jack wishes he could go but is willing to stay:  "I'm gonna improve," he declares.

The camera directs a long shot at Nick, sitting on the bed with his back to us.  As our perspective shifts around to his face, we realize that he's experiencing flashbacks:  of Lucifer in Alt World, Lucifer killing a Greek god, Lucifer killing Gabriel.  He rubs his face wearily.  Castiel enters with a tray; he has brought him nourishment.  Nick's eyes are tormented.  "I'm not him," he clarifies.  He has noticed that Castiel cannot look at him.  Nick doesn't know how he'd let Lucifer possess him.  Cas turns and looks at him:  You were in pain.  You were vulnerable.  Lucifer exploited you."  "What kind of pain could make me agree to be possessed by the devil?" wonders Nick.  "It was your family," says Cas.  Flashbacks to Nick in his home in grief and loss, blood oozing from his baby's crib, his wife's voice tempting him with Lucifer's offer.  "Who could do that?" queries Nick, distraught.  "Lucifer found me and made me a monster too."   Nick weeps.

A medical examiner pulls out a drawer with a body for three FBI agents:  Sam, Bobby, and Mary.  It's the man from the chapel with the burnt-out eyes.  Bobby questions the medical examiner, throwing a lot of acronyms her way which confuse her.  She thinks it could be a spree killer because several bodies have been found.  After she leaves, Sam asks, "DFA?"  Bobby says he's a little rusty since he's been fighting an apocalypse for fifteen years.  They put on rubber gloves to take a closer look at the bodies.  These are five-star smitings.  But Sam opens the corpse's mouth and checks the gums.  Sharp teeth descend.  They're vamps.  Why is Michael killing vampires?  They find out from the medical examiner that there had been one person in to see the bodies who'd left without giving her name.  They go to check the security cameras.

Jack is reading in the bunker's library trying to find out how to replenish his grace.  Cas says it could be one month to one century.  He tells him that mourning what he's lost is wasteful.  He shares that when the angels fell from heaven, he lost everything.  He was hopeless.  Useless.  "What did you have left?" asks Jack.  "Sam and Dean of course," Cas states but then adds, "and MYSELF."  Jack looks unimpressed.  Cas tells him that Sam and Dean have been at this since they were kids.  Sometimes they failed; sometimes they won.  It takes patience and persistence.  The past isn't as important as the future, Cas tells him.

A closeup of a man's hands:  Michael, in a tuxedo, is fixing his bowtie in a mirror.  Suddenly, the smooth assurance of the reflection hardens into angry desperation.  It's Dean:  "Get out!" he grits out.  Michael gives a distant, superior smile.  "I own you," he replies.  He smashes his ringed hand into the mirror, cracking it, then observes his mirror image with cool control.  "So hang on and enjoy the ride."

Cas is on the phone with Sam:  why would an archangel be bothering with vampries?  Why is Michael killing them?  They're not a threat.  Nick enters the room, leaning weakly over a table.  He's upset because he's been researching the murders of his wife and child and learned that there has been no progress and no news.  It's never been solved.  A witness saw a man leaving the house but later retracted the statement. Cas approaches as if to offer consolation, and Nick reacts swiftly, raising his hand and snapping his fingers, then freezing in wonder or horror.  "Why did you do that?"  Cas wonders, stepping back with hands raised, palms out.  Could Lucifer have left some influence inside Nick?  Cas slowly reaches out his hand, touching Nick's shoulder.  His eyes are intent; Nick's are sad.  Cas removes his hand.  "I just want to find out who killed my family," says Nick.  "And then what?" asks Cas.  Nick doesn't answer, just walks out of the room.

Sirens sound outside of a run-down apartment or hotel room; a dark-haired girl lies on the bed and is startled by a sudden knock.  "FBI!"  She leaps up and heads for the window, but the door smashes in, and Sam, Mary, and Bobby enter.  "You're hunters!" she says as Sam holds a gun on her.  She says that they were living quiet lives, existing on animal blood, until HE came.  He tied them up, he took their blood.  Then there was an explosion.  She doesn't know what was happening.  Two of the others jumped him so she could get away.  Sam asks why he was doing that.  She doesn't know, but she knew that he was experimenting and things were going wrong.  Bobby steps forward threateningly, and she adds in desperation that she knows where he is.

Michael, debonaire in a tux, opens the door to a dark-paneled room for a dark-haired woman in a bright red dress.  He pours wine as they exchange small talk:  she's from right there in Duluth; he's from a place that's empty, wind-swept, and filled with dead bodies.  For a moment she seems a bit taken aback; then she laughs:  "You're so funny!"  She tells him that she's not that kind of girl.  He calmly tells her that she is.  She smiles and places her hands on his shoulders.  "You're terrible!"  "You have no idea," he replies.  Suddenly, her mouth enlarges with huge teeth jutting out, but before she can even lunge toward him, he has her throat in his grasp.  His eyes glow with a fierce blue light.  "You think you picked me, but I picked you," he says, then hurls her across the room.  "Now, summon your master."

Cas looks at an old book while Nick has an angry conversation on the phone with a police detective.  When he hangs up, he rants about how his wife and son are dead and no ones cares.  There's no evidence, no DNA.  It's a cold case.  Castiel tells him that he's been given a second chance.  He says that he himself is in a body that once belonged to another human - Jimmy Novak.  When Nick asks about him, Cas explains that Jimmy accepted him willingly but sadly he is now dead.  Nick calmly states, "You're just a stone-cold body snatcher, no different from Lucifer."  Castiel tells him that what happened to Jimmy and his family is his greatest regret.  Their eyes meet for a moment before Cas leaves.  Nick stares ahead, eyes filled with sadness.

A hand holds a wine glass.  Michael is serving a man sitting on a couch across from him.  The woman in the red glass leans into the corner of the couch at the other end from Michael.  She looks intimidated and reluctant, but the man is calm. He says he came when she asked.   "She thinks you're a god,"  Michael laughs briefly.  He's an archangel.  The man is a leader of a werewolf pack.  "I admire you," says Michael.  Humans think werewolves are monsters, but humans, who cheat, covet, and destroy the planet, are the real monsters.  Who made them top dog?  "God, I suppose," replies the werewolf.  "God who?" challenges Michael.  God's gone.  So I'm in charge."  He says the werewolves kill to live.  There is purity in that.  He adds that there are ways to enhance their talents.  He's worked out the kinks and is now ready to help create a world where only a few humans exist as slaves and food to the werewolves.  He is calm, like a portrait against the black ground.  "Be the hunter not the hunted."

Jack knocks at a door and is welcomed by Mrs. Klein and her husband Jack.  He says he's a friend of Kelly's; she took him under her wing.  The parents are warm and kind, hiding their sadness at not hearing from their daughter behind smiles.  Mrs. Klein shows Jack some of Kelly's childhood pictures.  They think he looks like her.  They tell him that Kelly had told them she was pregnant.  Jack says she had a boy.  He'd heard her talk to her son, even before he was born.  She made him feel safe and wanted.  Their eyes fill with tears.  He adds that she told her son that he himself, not fate or her or his dad, could chose what his path would be."  Jack wants her courage and purpose.  "Tell her we miss her," they say, trying to be brave, knowing she works an important yet secretive government job, but longing to hear from her.  "I miss her too," Jack says.  Mrs. Klein hugs him.

The female vampire is packing a suitcase when Michael appears in her room.  "I didn't!" she defends herself, but Michael dispassionately states, "Of course, you did."  He'd left the bodies around on purpose so they would be found.  He'd let her escape.  He explains with confident superiority and assurance that rule one is you can't have a trap without bait.  Rule two is that once it's set, you don't need the bait.  He's facing away from her:  she doesn't see the glow in his eyes, but fiery light shoots from her eyes and mouth as she screams, then collapses, dead.  He turns emotionlessly to survey her fallen body.

Back at the bunker, Cas is scolding Jack for taking a risk.  He could have been captured.  Jack explains that he wanted to meet the only real family he has left.  This statement bothers Cas; he starts to protest, then asks instead if it helped.  Jack was glad he met them.  He wanted to tell them he was their grandson, but he didn't.  Cas says that he acted out of a motivation of kindness and that there are worse ways to be human than to be kind.  Then Jack questions their plans to stop Michael.  When Castiel makes it clear that they plan to subdue him and extract Dean, Jack adamantly states that Michael must be stopped at all cost, even if it means Dean dies.  Castiel is horrified.  Jack is implacable.  "Dean doesn't matter."  Cas looks at him in consternation.  "Do you think he'd want it any other way?" asks Jack.

A bald man is pouring tea from a china teapot with red roses.  Nick tensely slouches on the couch.  Artie, Nick's former neighbor, is awkwardly happy to see Nick again.  He hopes he's been resting and recovering.  Nick says his family is dead so the intervening years haven't been very restful.  Nick is there to question Artie's memories of that night, the figure that he saw leaving the house with a hammer, the hammer that was used to strike down his wife and baby.  Artie says he thought someone was there, but then there wasn't.  He was confused; he'd just wanted to help.  Nick wonders why he looked out.  He pulls back the curtain.  What made Artie look out the window?  Did he hear a cry?  See a man?  "There was no man!" Artie repeats.  "He got to you," states Nick.  He grabs Artie's throat, pushing him against the wall.  "I deserve justice!"

Darkness.  The sound of footsteps.  Flashlight beams pierce the gloom of the old church with its arched, stained-glass window.  Sam, Bobby, and Mary enter looking for Michael.  He's not there, though there's a lot of dried blood on the floor.  Suddenly, a window shatters as a figure leaps through.  Werewolves!  The hunters fire their guns, swing silver blades.  "Nothing's working!"  Then they decapitate one.  The body falls.  "Well, that works."  The fighting is fierce, and the hunters struggle to effectively stop the powerful monsters, but eventually all are beheaded and quiet descends on the dilapidated chapel.  They wonder why their usual weapons against werewolves were completely ineffective, but their musings are interrupted as the church's double doors slam open.  Michael is silhouetted in the doorway in his cap and long coat, the window behind him providing a sinister red background for his imposing figure.  He stretches out his right hand toward them and slowly moves forward.  They're frozen watching his approach.  But instead of overpowering them, his hand clutches at the doorframe and he leans his head wearily against it.  "Sammy, it's me."  

The hunters hesitate.  Then Sam steps forward, crouching in front of Michael/Dean as he slides down to sit on the floor, leaning against the wall.  Bobby and Mary hover cautiously in the background.  "Is it really you?"  Sam is concerned but wary and worried.  Dean seems drained, utterly without energy.  He keeps looking down at the ground then back up to meet Sam's eyes briefly.  "How'd you get him out?" asks Sam.  "I didn't!  He just LEFT!"  "Why?"  "I don't know!"

Nick stares in a mirror.  He is splattered in blood with a blood-stained hammer in his hand.  Artie's body has collapsed, eyes staring sightlessly, head battered and bloody.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Is Lucifer still influencing Nick somehow?  
  2. Did you expect his murderous outburst?  
  3. How does his desire for vengeance compare with John Winchester's?
  4. Why has Michael left Dean?  Is Michael still influencing Dean somehow?  Where is Michael now?
  5. What do you think of Jack's single-minded focus on destroying Michael without regard for his vessel?  
  6. How will Castiel respond now that his transparency and encouragement to both Jack and Nick seem to have been rejected?