Summary: This episode was written by Robert Berens and is a combination of myth and monster of the week.
The episode centers on the discovery and rescue of a codex that can decode the Book of the Damned and features the indirect return of two former characters: Magnus and Benny.
The episode begins with a cold open set in 1973 St. Louis. A family has bought a house and the daughter, who is rather angry for being given chores in her emerging feminist stance, goes to the basement and in a fit, breaks open a wall. Behind the wall there is a safe, which she opens. Fantastic light effects happen and we see a spirit knock her out and climb up the stairs. When she awakens she discovers her father and brother have committed suicide. She finds her mother, who is still alive. She clings to her mother as the woman takes a blade and slits her own throat.
Rowena and Sam are chatting about their deal, which involves Sam killing Crowley in exchange for her help with the book. Dean texts and he tells Sam he’s found a vamp next in Tulsa. Rowena and Sam agree to terms after she tells him that the book needs a codex created by a dead grand coven witch, Nadya. The men of letters killed her so Rowena suggests he begin looking at “home” for answers.
We find Dean as he’s finishing off the vamp nest. Partially covered in blood, Dean finds a refrigerator and beer and pops open the can as Sam rushes in. Sam’s irritated that Dean didn’t wait but the implication is that Dean is somewhat hyped up on adrenaline, from the mark we assume. Back at the bunker, while Dean sleeps, Sam researches the codex and finds that Cuthbert, our own Magnus, was connected to the witch’s death. In a flashback (which was really well directed) we see the expulsion hearing of Magnus and discover that the codex is part of the Werther box in the episode’s title. Magnus refuses to cooperate with the men of letters and is expelled, but from the tape recording, Sam figures out that it’s connected to St. Louis, where the group had a house.
Sam goes to St. Louis and finds a scared woman with a gun living in the house. As he sits in the car, Dean joins him. Dean figured out where he was. Thinking it’s just a cold case, Dean questions Sam on what he’s doing there. Sam explains (or lies) that the Werther box needs to be taken care of before it can be opened. Dean offers to help and he pretends to be a neighborhood watch guard and gets into the woman’s house. As he distracts Suzie, Sam picks the lock and gets into the basement. Suzie cottons to the deception and starts yelling about no one going into the basement. She demands, at gunpoint, that Dean call Sam back up. Dean is calling to Sam when the box is opened and a light filters into the room, infecting both Suzie and Dean.
Suzie begins seeing her dead family, who encourage her to kill herself, while Dean steps into his hallucination: Purgatory. Suzie locks herself in the library and eventually kills herself before Sam can stop her. Suzie returns as a ghost it seems and starts taunting Sam about his obsession with saving Dean. She tells him to stop himself when Rowena appears and Suzie disappears. Sam goes to find Dean, who is locked inside his hallucination with Benny in Purgatory. Rowena suggests tying Dean up as they go into the basement to get the codex. Opening the box, she claims, will stop the spell Dean is under.
Dean and Benny walk together through Purgatory. Dean is reminded how much he enjoyed the place because it was a place of killing without consequence. Benny begins to convince him that the best choice might be to stay there, aka to kill himself. As Dean continues his hallucination, Rowena helps Sam figure out how to get to the codex, which involves spilling legacy blood. Sam cuts his arm and starts to pour blood into the bowl. Dean seems like he’s about convinced to kill himself. He smashes a bottle against a cabinet and it looks like a knife in his hallucination, but he backs off. He realizes Benny would never ask him to do that and that he can’t really die with the mark.
He kills Benny (very reminiscent to me of “What Is and What Never Can Be”) and breaks the spell. He calls out to Sam, who is giving all of his blood to get to the codex. Rowena stands over him and massages the blood out of his arm when Dean shows up and we realize…Rowena wasn’t real!
Sam protests and says the box needs his blood, all of it. Dean cuts his own arm and pours his blood over Sam’s and the box opens.
In the concluding sequences, Dean and Sam are exhausted. Sam recovers as Dean notes that the one thing they always learn – whenever they separate they are weakened. They are stronger together. In the final scenes, Sam and Rowena meet again and Sam gives her the codex. She is opening it when Sam cuffs her to the table. He says the deal will be held, but only after she decodes the book and cures his brother. She screams at him as he leaves her there alone to work.
Another great episode by Robert Berens. Kudos to you, sir. Kudos.
Sam, what are you doing? How awesome is Sam’s desire and determination to save Dean?
What do you think Rowena’s end goal is? Does she really want Crowley killed?
What do you think Dean is going to do when he discovers the book is alive and well and in Rowena’s hands?
Do you think the codex will decode the book? Or is this a red herring?
So what are your thoughts, reactions, feelings? Leave them here!