Tonight’s episode begins with an overview of Nick enjoying his murderous indulgences, even though he’s sans Lucifer.  THEN:  Michael battles Sam, Cas, and Dean in Dean’s mind and is trapped inside Dean’s mind.  Billie visits Dean and tells him there’s only one way he dies that doesn’t end in Michael destroying the world.

NOW:  There’s a close up of ropes binding a woman’s bare arms.  Nick has tied up a woman in an evening gown, high heels, an upswept hair do, and sparkling, dangling earrings.  She marvels that she’s been caught by a human.  Is he some kind of hunter, the captive wonders.  Nick says he’s not.  He has a huge knife, but the woman isn’t phased by that.  Nick wants information on the demon Abraxis and on the hunter he’d heard had tracked him down.  The woman tells him that the hunter is in Hibbing, Minnesota, before her eyes turn black.  She’s still looking arrogant when he stabs straight for her face, and we see black ooze like a tear drop down her face.

WINGS – SUPERNATURAL

Scene:  a storage room in the bunker lined with shelves.  A hand removes an old book, several tools, heavy black gloves.  It’s Dean.  He bundles everything up together in a duffle bag, then steps out into the hallway.  The title appears:  “Damaged Goods.”

Sam is sitting at the larger central table in the bunker’s library and poring through books when Dean enters.  They talk, but their words stumble, halt, stutter a bit.  Sam says, “We’ll find a way,” and Dean responds that he appreciates him trying.  Appreciates him TRYING?  This confuses Sam.  What else would he do?  Of course he’s going to do anything he can.  Dean, smiling, says he wants to go out for a long drive in Baby, then adds that maybe he’ll drop in and visit Mom.  Sam asks for a minute to gather his stuff, but Dean awkwardly explains that he wants to go alone.  Sam is also confused at this but willing to give Dean whatever he needs.  Dean steps around the table on his way out, then leans over and wraps an arms around Sam’s shoulder and leans in close.  “Take care, Sammy,” he says and exits with Sam’s concerned eyes following him.

Sam calls Mary who’s staying in a rustic but expansive cabin.  Mary explains that Bobby, dealing with issues about his son, has decided that he needs space for now.  Sam confides that Dean is acting strange; he hugged him, and they never hug unless they’re dying or the world is ending.  As he talks, Sam is moving through the bunker.   He’s gone into the storage room and sees the space on the shelf where a book has been removed.

Dean is goopily eating a sloppy but delicious burger with Donna at an outdoor table, both of them enjoying every bite.  Dean asks about Jody and the girls.  They’re doing well; Alex has even killed a couple vetalas.  Then Dean asked how everything’s going with Doug.  Donna realizes that he’s asking about everyone but HER, and the reason he’s not asking about her is that he doesn’t want her asking him how he’s doing.  She tells him that she knows he’s been possessed twice – Sam told her – and that he’s got Michael locked inside him right now – Sam told her that too.  “Sam got a freakin’ newsletter?” Dean asked.  “It can’t be easy,” commiserates Donna.  “I’ll make it through,” Dean states.  He gives her a big hug, then a huge smile before turning away, but Donna is concerned.

The Impala pulls up to the cabin, and Dean gets out, then hears a gunshot.  Pulling his own weapon, he heads around the house to find his mother target shooting pumpkins.  They exchange warm smiles and a hug, but Mary adds casually that it would be nice to invite Sam to come if Dean is planning on staying for a couple days.  Dean rather abruptly says that he wants time alone with just the two of them, then swiftly changes the subject to declare that he’s hangry and wants something to eat.  Mary ruefully remarks that they both know she’s not a cook, but Dean says there is one thing:  Winchester Surprise.  She’s surprised he still remembers it.  She heads off into town to buy supplies for the meal, with a farewell request from Dean for pie too. 

As soon as her truck pulls away, Dean opens the trunk and removes his duffle bag, then heads for a large shed on the property while slightly ominous music plays with a determined, forceful beat.  He steps into the workshop and smiles as he sees a poster of a bare-chested, mustached, cowboy hat-wearing man on the wall.  Just as he’s joking to himself about Donna having a type, he staggers.  Michael yells inside his head, smashing against the door, rattling the lock of the storage room.  Dean’s vision blurs and he sways for a moment before taking control back.  He sees an eight-track and puts one in, then gets to work.  “No time for a summer friend,” the band sings as he measures, cuts, and welds.  Face shielded behind a welder’s mask, Dean makes sparks fly from metal as the music plaintively declares, “No time left for you.”

Mary is lugging two large bags of groceries out to her car when a hand falls on her shoulder.  It’s just Joe, a friendly young employee asking if she needs help.  He’s surprised to see her buying food – she usually gets pumpkins and whiskey – but she says she has family visiting.  Shortly after, a blue van pulls up next to Joe.  Nick is in the driver’s seat.  He tells Joe he’s looking for his friend Mary Winchester, but Joe claims he can’t help him.  Nick drives off annoyed, while Joe pulls out his cell phone to make a call.

The orange sun sets over a quiet landscape of open land and quiet ponds.  Nick drives through the dark, startled out of his thoughts when the car that just passed him in the opposite direction turns around behind him and turns on its lights and siren.  Frustrated, he looks back at the police car, then at the large, sheathed knife on the seat beside him.  Then he reaches up to the sunshade and grabs a large paper clip.  A figure approaches wreathed in fog and silhouetted against the headlights.  It’s Donna.

Nick has been slammed up against the side of the van, his hands cuffed behind his back.  Donna sees through all his excuses:  the van has been reported stolen and she saw the knife.  When he tells her his name is Nunya, she pulls out a new, and expensive, department expenditure – a mobile finger print scanner.  It only takes a minute for his prints to be scanned; she turns away, waiting for the results, and he fumbles with the cuffs, using the paper clip he’d been holding onto.  “Ufdah!” she exclaims as the results come in, turning to find him free.  They scuffle, and she slams him up against the back of the van, but he tazes her and she collapses bonelessly to the ground at his feet. 

Mary pulls into the dooryard of Donna’s cabin and is surprised to see Dean approaching from the shed, but he deflects any questions by telling her to come inside.  He has a surprise.  He’s set the table and is planning on helping her cook, and she smiles, willing to go along with it despite the concern hiding in her eyes.

Later that evening, as Dean removes the Winchester Surprise casserole from the stove, Mary has been able to sneak away to place a quick call to Sam.  She shares her worries with Sam, and Sam says that he’d like to come out to the cabin.  Mary tells him to wait a bit, but as their call ends, we see that Sam is already driving on his way there.

At the table, Dean has been telling his mother some stories from their childhood, laughing about how they tried to cook bologna and cheese on a hot plate and John had come in and gotten mad at the awful smell.  At the mention of her husband, Mary grows pensive.  “I forget how much I missed.”  “You’re here now,” Dean tells her.  Even though the last year has been a little rough, it’s been enough for Dean just knowing that she’s here, just knowing she’s alive.  How great is this, he asks, especially since there’s no clouds on the horizon. 

But Mary reads behind the confident words.  “You can talk to me,” she says, but Dean doesn’t want to talk about it.  “Please,” he adds, eyes desperate. 

That night, while Dean snores on the couch, Mary sneaks downstairs holding her boots to minimize her footsteps and heads out to the workshop.  She sees part of a frame, plans.  She looks at a book, sees a picture, flips through the pages.  “No!” she gasps.  “No, no, no, no.”

A phone ringing wakes Dean.  It’s Donna who’s woken in the front seat of her cruiser.  She explains confusedly that she couldn’t stop him; it’s someone named Nick asking about Mary.  Dean immediately heads outside, gun drawn.

“Oh, god,” exclaims Mary, moving away from whatever Dean has been working on.  She steps outside the shed only to come face to face with Nick.

Dean hurries through the dark woods around the cabin, whirling at a sound only to have his gun pointing at Sam.  “It’s Mom!” Dean explains.  “She’s gone.”

Mary is in the back of the van, hands bound in front of her, as Nick explains about the perky sheriff lady whose phone enabled him to track Mary down.  “What are you doing?” asks Mary.  “Tanya Baker,” he answers.  “You saved her life.”  Demons had killed all the rest of the girl scouts in her troops, but Mary saved her and faced off against the demon Abraxis.  Abraxis killed Nick’s family.  He did it the way he killed the girl scouts:  bloody, brutal, and slow.  “You could have asked me,” Mary told him.  What he’s doing is crazy.  Anyway, Abraxis is dead.  But Nick knows she’s lying.  He tells her that she’d trapped him in a box; he wants to know how.  When she refuses to answer, he threatens her with the knife.  Mary admits that he’s contained in an Enochian puzzle box and she can take Nick to where it is. 

They drive through the night to a storage yard. 

Donna has been running tags trying to track down the van.  Sam and Dean are with her in the sheriff’s office.  Dean is frustrated that Nick, who’d been in the bunker, has been loose and creating havoc.  “I didn’t know he was killing people!” Sam says.  Then a call comes in.  The van has been traced to a storage unit outside Grand Rapids, Minnesota. 

Nick and Mary approach the storage unit.  Nick handles Mary with caution, refusing to unbind her as she manages the lock and shoving her ahead of him.  She carefully steps over a trip wire, but he sees it too, and the double-barrel shotgun doesn’t take him out.  The box has been concealed in one of the warded lockers behind a locked fence inside the unit, but Nick breaks the lock and shoves Mary inside.  When she won’t say which locker contains Abraxis’s prison, Nick breaks open one after another, revealing gruesome monster remains until the box is at last revealed.  “Bingo!” He wants her to open it, but she says it’s useless because, in order to talk to them, demons need hosts.  He won’t let his family’s murderer possess him, and she has an anti-possession tattoo which she reveals, pulling up the side of her shirt.  “We’ll improvise,” says Nick.

The Winchester brothers are following Donna’s cop car through the darkness and rain.  Dean is mad about Nick.  “He’s not a project!” says Dean.  It was dumb to trust him.  It wasn’t dumb, claims Sam.  It was compassion.  Since when do we cut people loose?  “When they’re past the point of saving,” Dean replies.  “Maybe you need to learn to walk away.”

Nick has grabbed the hapless storage place employee who’s tied in a chair, but he can’t open the box.  When he’s distracted, Mary tries to attack him, but he throws her aside.  No matter what he tries, however, he can’t find a way to remove the demon from the carefully warded box.  His face crumples as if he’s about to cry.  Eventually, he resorts to using a drill.  From the hole pours a column of black smoke which swirls for a moment before zeroing in on the helpless man in the chair.  He screams as the demon forces itself down his throat, then, possessed, looks up with a smile.  The demon looks at the sigils on the floor, the box, then at Mary slumped against the fence.   “Hey, blondie!” he grins at Mary.  “Missed you.”  “Why’d you kill my family?” demands Nick.  “Who’s he?” the demon wonders condescendingly.  After all, he’s killed a lot of people.  But when Nick tells him his name, he is astounded and amused.  “No way!”  Lucifer’s vessel?  He’s surprised he’s still walking around.  The demon, though trapped in the chair surrounded by a devil’s trap, seems confidently in charge, mocking Nick.  A tear slowly wends its way down Nick’s cheek.  “Why?!” he implores.  “Kill her slow and bloody,” Abraxis nods at Mary, “and we’ll chat.”  But before Nick can do that, a shot rings out and Nick falls back, holding the side of his face.  Sam, Dean, and Donna enter, Sam holding a gun, Dean running to their mom to free her.  “What are you doing?” Sam demands of Nick.  “What I have to!” Nick replies, lunging forward to scrape away part of the devil’s trap.  Abraxis springs to his feet and immediately uses his power to hurl the humans away from him to the floor.  He tells Nick that he was just following orders from Lucifer.  “Why?” repeats Nick.  “You were chosen, but you’re nothing special.  He could have gotten your name out of the phonebook,” smiles the demon, but Dean’s voice interrupts them.  He’s reciting an exorcism, but before he can even get partway through, Abraxis telekinetically throws him into a wall of shelves and he collapses to the floor.  “Who dies first?” Abraxis asks gleefully, but Nick grabs him from behind and impales him.  Abraxis dies with a glow of fiery light from his eyes and mouth.  Before Nick can turn his knife on anyone else, Donna shoots him in the leg and Mary knocks him out. 

Donna is taking a handcuffed Nick to the cruiser.  Dean asks Mary if she’s okay, while Sam approaches Nick to ask him, “Why?”  “I needed the truth,” Nick answers.  “Revenge for my family.  You would have done the same thing.”  “I’m sorry I didn’t help you,” Sam tells him.  “I’m sorry I didn’t know how.”  “It wasn’t about you,” Nick tells him.  “You can’t fix me because I don’t want to be fixed.  I’m not broken.”  “Yes, you are,” says Sam.  “I’m sorry for the people you hurt, the faces you’ll be seeing in your mind.  You can burn.” 

Mary tells Dean that she knows what he was doing in Donna’s shed and that they all need to talk.  If he doesn’t tell Sam, she will.  He nods and gives her the barest bit of a smile.

Sam and Dean are in the shed, and for the first time we see what Dean has built.  It is a large, rectangular, iron box, not unlike a giant coffin.  It’s a Malock Box, Dean informs his brother, strong enough to trap an archangel.  “That’s impossible to build,” replies Sam.  “Not so much,” says Dean.  “So you’re going to be buried alive?” Sam asks.  No, Dean tells him, because that’s not safe enough.  He’s going to charter a boat to take the box to the ocean and dump it overboard.  “You and Michael trapped forever for eternity?” asks Sam.  “Yeah,” Dean replies unwaveringly.  They argue about the plan; Sam thinks it’s insane, but Dean knows that Michael is getting stronger.  It’s only a matter of time before he gets out.  He can feel the door giving way.  There’s got to be another way, insists Sam.  There’s NOT, Dean shoots back quickly, though I love you for trying.  Why is Dean so sure this is the only way?  Dean tells Sam that Billie showed him that this is the one and only way to avoid Michael destroying the world.  She gave him the recipe for the box.  It’s fate.  “Since when do you believe in fate?” scoffs Sam gently.  “Since now,” admits Dean.  Sam earnestly expresses his sadness that Dean was going on a farewell tour to see Donna and mom but “you weren’t even going to tell me . . . ME?!”  The whole thing is unfair and messed up.

Dean is just as earnest.  He hadn’t told Sam because Sam is the only one with the ability to potentially talk Dean out of this and Dean needs to do it.  “I won’t be talked out of it.  You can help me or I’m doing it alone.  I’m doing this.”  Sam’s face is a mixture of grief, pain, and resole.  All right.  He’ll help him.

THE END

  1. What does the title, "Damaged Goods," refer to?
  2. Was Sam right to give Nick a chance?  How can you know when someone is past the point of saving?  
  3. How did you feel about the relationship between the brothers and their mother in this episode?
  4. Will Sam help Dean lock himself in a box at the bottom of the ocean for eternity (the way Dean allowed Sam to jump into the Cage with Lucifer) or will he find a way to stop this?
  5. Is Billie right?  Is there no way to escape fate?
  6. Do you like that once again it's up to a Winchester to sacrifice himself to save the world or do you feel that it is a theme that has been overused?

Let's Speculate!