THEN: Lucifer steals Jack’s grace. Jack coughs and collapses. Lily Sunder in the early 1900s sees her daughter murdered and then takes on angels in her quest for revenge. She explains that each time she uses magic, a piece of her soul burns away. Rowena explains to the Winchesters and Castiel that it would need an archangel’s grace and some kind of magic to save Jack. All they can do is stay with him as he dies.
NOW: In the bunker, Dean stands grimly with his back to Jack’s bed. Sam sits near Jack’s side while Castiel stands nearby. Jack weakly but peacefully says, “Please don’t be sad. Maybe this is supposed to be.” Dean angrily says that that is crap. Cas puts reproof into his tone with just his name: “Dean.” Jack breaths into an oxygen mask. Dean, turning around, rapidly leaves the room; Castiel’s eyes follow him, dark with concern. In the hallway, Dean’s eyes are anguished, and he smashes his fist into the wall. Jack says, “Tell him it’s OK.” “Tell him yourself. He’ll be back,” responds Sam. “What happens next to someone like me?” Jack asks. Sam tries to smile, but his eyes are watery. “I don’t know,” he admits. “Then it’s going to be an adventure,” says Jack with a little smile as he settles down in the bed.
Cas walks out into the hallway to approach Dean, but when he calls his name, Dean turns away, saying, “I can’t. It’s not . . . “ “I know,” says Cas, “but he needs you.” Dean walks back into the room. Jack is lying peacefully on the bed, arms folded on the covers over his stomach. “He’s gone,” Sam informs them simply. Jack’s face is calm and peaceful. Dean’s is still, as if carved in stone, frozen in time.
ANGEL WINGS. SUPERNATURAL. Title: “Byzantium”
In the bunker hallway stand Castiel, Dean, and Sam discussing the next step. A bonfire? It’s what Jack would have wanted. Sam turns and walks away. Cas wants to follow him, but Dean stops him with a hand on his shoulder. “He’s in pain!” Cas explains. “Give him space,” advises Dean.
Dean is on the phone calling Mary, but he only gets her answer machine. As he talks, the camera shifts to Castiel in Jack’s room, looking at the still body on the bed. He picks up the picture frame on the nightstand. It’s Kelly Kline. Dean is explaining that Jack has suddenly died, and he apologizes for giving her such news in phone message. “I know how much he meant to you.” He says that they thought they they could fix it. He adds, “I’m sorry.” He is serious and straightforward as he speaks. Sam walks down one of the long corridors of the bunker, a duffle bag thrown over his shoulder. Dean ends his message saying it would be nice if she would call them back. Cas sees Sam going up the bunker’s iron stairway but says nothing as he leaves.
Castiel and Dean are in the front seat of a car at night with Cas driving. Dean can’t believe Cas let Sam just leave. “You said give him space!” Cas defends himself. “In the BUNKER!” Dean replies. But up ahead they see lights. The Impala is parked sideways on the side of the road, and Sam is leaning against the back tire. Dean approaches him, angrily spitting out, “Tell me you didn’t just make a deal!” Sam looks distraught but puzzled, as if that hadn’t crossed his mind. “I was trying to build a pyre.” There’s a sudden flashback of Sam hacking at trees with an ax, felling one and moving on to the next, until the ax breaks. Dean looks and sees some fallen trunks. “I couldn’t even do that,” Sam admits. “I should’ve done more. What good is all the lore and the knowledge they have if they couldn’t even save Jack, he wonders. Reassuringly, Dean says, “You were there for him.” “This is not how I thought Jack’s story would end,” adds Castiel. “He was taken before his time.” Then he amends that to clarify, “Before ME.” “What do we do?” asks Sam. “We say goodbye,” says Dean, “tomorrow. Tonight we get loaded.”
Piano music fills the background as the three men sit around the table in the bunker’s kitchen with glasses and bottles of whiskey. “Take one last look before you leave,” begin the lyrics. As the song continues, we watch as the Winchesters and Cas drink and reminisce and laugh over candy bars, the nougat sloppily dripping. When they finish one bottle, Cas brings two more. Eventually Sam leaves, then Cas, touching Dean’s shoulder as he steps out. “We did everything we could, right?” Dean asks. He pours himself another drink, then lifts the glass: “Here’s to you, Jack, wherever you are.” The screen fades to white.
Jack is eating a burger next to the Impala outside a diner in bright, warm sunshine. “Take is easy!” warns Dean jokingly. Sam exits the diner complaining about bad cell reception as Castiel takes a map out of the car. Dean is about to show Jack how to read a map when there’s a sudden weird blip, as if Jack’s reality is a TV show on the blink. He glances at the sun, and it weirdly fades in and out and in and out. He knows there’s something wrong. He suddenly steps through a doorway and into a long, pristinely austere white hallway lined with doors. He’s in one of heaven’s endless corridors. At first all is silent; then he hears a weird rushing sound. Black goo starts flowing, then spurting down the hallway. He turns and dashes in the opposite direction as the goo splashes, flowing rapidly down the hall.
Dean is passed out, head and shoulders resting on the table surrounded by the bottles and glasses of last night’s wake. He groggily wakes up, feeling hung over and confused as he hears voices from another room. He moves stiffly to the doorway as Castiel says, “Think it’s possible?” When he enters the main room of the bunker, he sees his brother and his angel talking to a blonde woman with a black eye patch over her lined face. It’s Lily Sunder, but she’s significantly older than when they last saw her. Obviously not up to feeling polite, he points out that she’s old, and she explains that it’s a side effect when you stop using the magic she’d been using. Sam had called her. They’d checked through everything the Men of Letters had available, but they had not tried Kevin’s angel tablet translation. That’s because Kevin translated it into something only another prophet can read, states Dean. “Maybe we can pull off a miracle,” Sam says. Lily has spent a lifetime and longer studying angels. Perhaps she can read it. “Ok. Go for it,” says Dean. “Bring Jack home,” adds Castiel.
Sam is overflowing with eagerness as Lily explains that she can use her magic which draws from the soul. Immediately Dean says, “Pass!” They all know how precious souls are. Anyway, it’s too late. He’s dead. His soul’s gone. But Cas says there might still be a chance: if Jack’s soul is in heaven, Cas could get his soul back into his body.
So Lily Sunder is offering them a resurrection and a cure? Dean is suspicious. What’s in it for her? It’s true that Lily is not doing it out of the goodness of her heart; she wants a trade. She expects to go to hell. All those years of killing angels, they’d never accept her into heaven. She wants the Winchesters to help get her soul into heaven when she dies.
Dean is worried about Jack’s soul, but Sam thinks it’s worth trying. They discuss what they’d need to do: kidnap a reaper? Talk to Billie? Who exactly is it who decides who goes to heaven or hell? Castiel brings out an old tome that explains that the judge of souls is Anubis, son of Osiris. Anubis has been basically serving as heaven’s temp. All right, then. The Winchesters will summon Anubis. “You can summon a god?” wonders Lily. “We have before,” says Dean.
In a yard filled with bright flowers near a small pond, a girl of around 10 or 12 throws a ball to a small dog. It dashes into some bushes after the ball, but doesn’t immediately return. A small frown creases her brow; then through the greenery steps a young man – Jack. “Who are you?” she questions. “I’m Jack. I’m your son,” he answers, smiling at her. Suddenly, she’s in the form of her adult self. “Jack? It’s you!” she exclaims joyfully, eyes glowing in happiness. “I grew up!” Jack explains. “Do you know where you are?” She realizes that she’s been playing with her pet dog that had died when she was a child. He tells her that she’s in heaven, in her best memories. She realizes that she died when he was born, but this doesn’t bother her, not until she starts to wonder why Jack is there. “No! No! No!” she exclaims as she grasps that he must be dead too. Castiel was supposed to take care of him! Jack reassures her that Cas and the Winchesters did their best. “Jack, what’s wrong?” she asks.
Back in the bunker, Dean is not pleased that they’re working with a psycho former angel-killer. “What do you want to do?” counters Sam. They argue about whether they should trust her when Castiel enters, saying that angel radio is sending out a distress call. All the gates to heaven are open; this is not good. “You go!” says Sam. He and Dean will take care of things with Lily while Cas checks out heaven.
Liquid is poured into a bowl, then the contents are stirred. Dean is painting a large red sigil on the floor. Lily hands Sam a small book and Sam nods his head to Dean in her direction before he leaves. Dean gets up and steps toward her, gruffly saying that although he’d been suspicious, he should be thanking her. “Apology accepted,” she replies tartly, but Dean isn’t quite as conciliatory as it might have first sounded. “If magic is so great,” he asks, “why did you stop using it? You’re letting yourself die. There’s something you’re not telling us.” He’s right. After the angels killed her husband and daughter, she’d wanted to kill Ishim, but for every angel she killed, she lost part of her soul. However, she still has a whisper of a soul inside her. Mae, her little girl, is in heaven. She wants to be with her. Emotion floods this tough woman as she reflects on spending eternity without her daughter.
“Hello,” queries Castiel, stepping into an empty white corridor of heaven. As he turns, he sees puddles of black goo on the floor and the grey suit-clad bodies of two angels. The noxious black goo has oozed from their eyes and ears and from under their prone bodies. “Azareal!” Cas exclaims, coming to the side of the first angel. “Duma!” to the second as she sits up with a gasp. She’s confused. What happened? Everything went black when the black goo touched her. Cas has to find Jack and she asks to go with him.
Cas and Duma are in front of the diner near the Impala. Jack is gone; the burgers and food on Baby’s hood are cold. “Hello,” says a voice. It’s Naomi, the angel who’d once used mind control on Castiel. “Jack’s gone,” she states. “We’re under attack.” It’s the shadow, that thing from the Empty. There’s a quick flashback to Castiel facing the entity after he’d died. Naomi says, “You’re the only one who ever escaped.” Now the Empty wants Jack. “Give it what it wants!” urges Naomi. If not, heaven will fall. Over forty-six billion human souls are at risk. If heaven is destroyed, they’ll all be loose. “Help me. You know I’m right. What’s one nephilim in comparison?” Suddenly, she looks at him in panic. “Run!” she cries as black goo starts creeping up her neck over her chin.
In the bunker, Sam is reciting a spell. Lily cuts her hand and her blood falls on the sigil. She steps inside the red painted markings. The Winchesters wait outside the circle; Dean’s hand twitches at his side. A bearded man in a suit with a briefcase appears in the center of the sigil. He’s a paperwork guy. He’s interested in seeing the Winchesters. Their paperwork has come across his desk several times. But they haven’t summoned him on their behalf. It’s Lily who wants to know where she’s going. He pulls out an abacus. “You expected a scale and a feather?” he asks. He holds his hand out to Lily. When she extends hers to him, he positions it over the abacus then lets go. The beads at the top are white; those on the bottom are black. Click. Click. Click. Beads fall, turning black. There are more black beads than white.
“Change it!” demands Sam. “I can’t,” says Anubis. God can make an exception. He could make an exception. And if he won’t, well, they’ve bound him in palm oil. He can’t get out. Anubis calmly explains that it’s not he who decides where the soul goes and not God either. It’s they themselves. You decide by the choices you make in your life. Your choices are tallied up. And if they decide to keep him captive, it won’t change Lily’s fate, but it might change theirs. Sam and Dean look at each other. Then Sam scrapes across the red paint, releasing Anubis. Lily stands tall, but tears run over the strong planes of her weathered face.
Castiel and Duma are in Kelly’s flowered heaven. Jack is peeking out at the intruders from inside a house. He’ll stop them while Kelly runs, he explains, but she’s not planning on leaving him, but then he hears Castiel call for him. There are hugs and warms smiles between both Cas and Jack and Cas and Kelly, but Cas admits, “I failed you.” “You didn’t,” declares Kelly. “Jack is wonderful.” Cas explains that he’s found a way to bring Jack home. It will require just a small piece of his soul. There is lots at stake. The Empty wants Jack. It’s a place of endless nothing. It will devour heaven looking for him, but if he’s not in heaven but alive on earth, it will leave. “Smart thinking!” says Duma, except it’s not Duma. Black goo obscures her smiling features.
In the bunker, Sam tells Lily that she could still do the spell to return Jack to life, but Lily doesn’t want to; she didn’t get her heart’s desire – to see her child in heaven. “He’s OUR kid!” they explain, but she’s leaving. Dean interrupts her departure, telling her scornfully, “You’re not even human anymore. Otherwise, how could you let someone else go through what you did? Don’t do this to us.”
In the house in Kelly’s heaven, the Entity, cloaked in Duma’s form, is upset. “Angels are MINE!” it exclaims. She keeps smiling, but her eyes are wild and unstable. “It’s worse then hell!” Looking at Kelly and Jack, it observes, “They look scared. Does it hurt you? Good!” Cas pulls his angel blade to attack, but it hurls him across the room.
In the bunker, Jack’s silent body lies on a table, a burning candle at each corner. Lily looks at a black-and-white photograph of a young child in a locket around her neck. Closing it, she steps up to the table. “I’m ready.”
The Entity beats Cas, and Kelly flings herself at it, but is ineffective as it viciously strikes her, felling her to the floor. On earth, Dean prays to Cas, letting him know they’re ready for Jack’s soul. Lily recites the spell. They don’t know that in the supposedly safe halls of heaven, the Entity is grasping Jack around the neck. “Take ME!” Castiel offers. “I’m the one you want!” The Entity throws Jack to the ground beside his mother. “You? You’re already mine.” “Not for eons!” counters Castiel. It could be a very long time before Cas goes back to the Empty. “Deal!” decides the being with another grin. “But not now. I want you to suffer. When you finally give yourself permission to be happy, that’s when I’ll come to drag you to nothing.” “I accept,” declares Cas. At that, Duma collapses, and the black ooze possessing her leaves, squirting up through a vent in the ceiling. Cas reassures the confused angel as she sits up. “Why did you do that?” asks Jack. “I made a promise,” says Cas. “I love you. Sam and Dean love you. They are fighting for you. They don’t need to know what happened. I’m at peace. I don’t want them to worry.” Jack agrees that he won’t let the brothers know of Castiel’s deal with the Entity. “We should go,” says Cas. Kelly smoothes Jack’s shirt with a mother’s loving fussiness as she tearfully yet happily bids him goodbye. “We didn’t have enough time,” says Jack regretfully. “Go have a good life,” she responds. “I’ll be waiting.” Love you so much!”
Cas steps forward and places his hands on the sides of Jack’s face. Warm, yellow light fills his face. Then back in the bunker, Jack sits up gasping. As Jack coughs, Lily steps back out of sight. Jack’s eyes glow. “Was that my soul?” he asks. Dean asks him how he feels; when Jack responds that he feels good, Dean pulls him into a hug. Sam reaches out to clasp his other shoulder. “Lily, thank you!” Dean says, turning toward her where she sits, still and silent in a brown leather arm chair, but she can’t hear him. She is no longer alive.
In an old office, crowded with overflowing filing cabinets, Lily approaches a desk where Anubis sits. Behind him, is a huge old clock face. “Why am I here?” she asks. He holds out the abacus. Does she want to try again? He reaches his hand to her. She reaches out. This time, black beads start ascending, turning to white, until there are more on the top. “I’m curious,” Anubis says, a smile behind his eyes. “Did you know what it would cost you?” He smiles. “Say hello to Mae.”
Cas steps through Kelly Kline’s doorway into heaven’s white corridor. Naomi appears, wanting to thank him. She’s poised; he looked rumpled and weary. “You saved us,” she says. “You’re welcome,” Cas replies, a little warily. “You deserve a reward,” she states. Does he want to know Michael’s location?
The three adults and their resurrected son sit around a table in the bunker. Jack is smiling but senses that Sam and Dean have concerns. Dean says that while they now know where Michael is, they don’t know where Dark Kaia is nor the location of the spear. “But we WILL,” Sam declares. “And that son of a bitch is going to pay,” adds Dean. They clink their beer bottles together and take a drink to that promise.
- What do you think of Sam breaking his own rules and leaving the bunker without telling anyone?
- How would you answer Naomi’s questions to Castiel: “What’s one nephilim?”
- Anubis says that the only person deciding whether a person’s final destination is that human himself or herself, by the choices that human makes? Yet who is it who determines whether those choices are “white bead” or “black bead” actions?
- How do Dean’s words to Lily that you don’t let someone else go through the pain you’ve gone through reflect the Winchester family business?
- Is the Empty really worse than hell?
- Will Castiel and Jack successfully keep the secret of Cas’s deal from Sam and Dean?
Time to Discuss “Byzantium”!