(Please note, this recap was written a few days before “Two Minutes to Midnight” aired. So some questions I raised do get answered.)
Cranking out these recaps every week is proving to be a challenge. We’re getting down to the wire though so I plug on! Let’s get started.
If there’s a profound weak spot to this episode, it all comes right here at the beginning. I know why it’s being shown, to show the dastardly plan of releasing the Croatoan virus one step closer to reality, not to mention that Pestilence is now walking the earth and causing some trouble, but compared to the rest of this episode it’s off. So, I’ll just burn through this part for now. The setting starts at a lab and in a grand shout out to continuity, it’s the same folks that make Herpexia. That brings a smile to my face, for to me Sam squirming through that commercial makes my top ten funniest moments list. Of course I then worry about the lab rats shown next to the sign and if they’re being infected. Moving on, two labcoats pontificate about if these epidemics were causing any real threat the vaccine would be given away for free. I think that’s Edlund working in a chance to get political, but he has a point. They’re rushing something to trial and there’s a janitor. He has a malevolent smile so he must be evil. He plunges a syringe in one guy’s neck and traps the other in there. The one dude’s eyes turn black, so this must be the Croatoan virus. He yanks away the other guy and blood spatter. Yep, it works.
Title card and the sounds of the lab rats screeching are what stood out for me.
Sam and Dean are in suits playing the CDC agents this week. They must be in a clinic for there’s a bunch of sick people in there, including dude from last week that got the Pestilence mucus bath (still gagging!). They are with a woman and all three have surgical masks on. Sorry, but I’m not buying Winchester’s in surgical masks. It hides the pretty. Dean of course likes it, joking he’s the “king of pop.” I would have said Dr. Sexy MD, but that’s good too. Sam and Dean ask if the outbreak causes any aggressive behavior, aka homicidal tendencies, and get strange looks. Not Croatoan in other words. Let’s skip ahead a bit. Blah, blah, people are sick, blah blah, it’s just a lesser case of the swine flu, blah blah, 70 cases in a day and a half. Lightbulbs go off in Sam and Dean’s heads and Dean forgets that the other person can hear his low talk to Sam about how that’s when those statues started crying. They cover in a really lame way.
Okay, now for the good stuff. The brothers are in the Impala talking with Bobby on the phone. Bobby guesses it’s another “steaming hot pile of swine flu.” Sam is certain this is the work of Pestilence and Dean wonders why he’s dealing up swine flu when he’s got the Croatoan virus. Bobby doesn’t care what he’s doing, it’s the fourth town he’s hit that they know of and they’re still “eating his dust.” They might not want to eat that dust, it’s kind of nasty. There’s no pattern and they don’t know the next target. Bobby tells them to hold on and wheels over to the desk and reads his map. As far as he can tell, he’s still heading east, so they should head east. “East?” Both Sam and Dean reply. “Bobby, we’re in West Nevada, east is practically all there is,” Dean says. You know what else is east? Detroit. I bet that’s coming up soon. “Yeah, well, you better get to driving,” Bobby says. That doesn’t leave Sam and Dean all that happy. Then they get really miserable when they hear from the back seat, “Say, I’ve got an idea.” It’s Crowley! Our favorite gay trouble making demon. Dean slams on the brakes and the Impala goes spinning, and somehow Sam fights all the centrifugal force to grab the knife and plunge it into the Impala upholstery? NOOOOOO!!!!! What did the car do? Anyway, Crowley is not there and then knocks on Sam’s window. “Fancy a fag and a chat?” Hee! Compared to angels, demons are just way more fun.
Sam and Dean get out of the car and Sam is raging! Dean’s much calmer but still not happy. Crowley understands they’re upset but wants to discuss it. Not there but, never mind, Sam needs to vent. “You want to talk after what you did to us?” Crowley is incredulous, for he gave them the Colt. Sam accuses that he knew it would work against the Devil. Crowley denies, well more gives a diva-ish “Well, I never.” Sam rages on. “You set us up. We lost people on that suicide run, good people!” Crowley accurately points out that who they take along for the ride is their own business. Then he tries to reason with Dean, pleading that they’re all in this together. Sam responds by taking another vicious swipe with the knife, but Crowley’s too fast and ends up behind Sam. Dean watches all of this with skepticism. He probably also sees the benefit of letting Sam get some of that rage out.
Sam pushes forward for more but this time Dean holds him back. He asks Crowley for one good reason why they should listen to him. He can give them Pestilence. Judging by the looks on their faces, Sam doesn’t believe him but Dean is interested. Crowley claims he knows how to get him. Aw, you gotta love scheming gay demons. They always know when to give you what you want at just the perfect time. Sam turns to Dean with a “can you believe this jerk” attitude and is stunned to see Dean is taking him seriously. “Are you actually listening to this?” Dean shushes him with his finger and a calm “Sam.” “Are you freaking nuts?!” Sam yells. “Shut up for a second Sam!” Come on Sam, he tried to be patient.
“Shut up the both of you!” Crowley yells. Yeah guys, give the man a chance to speak. Crowley swears he thought the Colt would work. “It’s an honest mistake. It’s all part of the learning process.” Nothing’s changed, he still wants The Devil dead. Oh, except one thing has changed, the Devil now knows he wants him dead. “Which by the way makes me the most buggered son in all of creation.” Dean isn’t buying the sob story, and neither am I. Sam certainly is enjoying this tale of misery. “They burnt down my house!” Nope, still no sympathy. “They ate my tailor!” That should have warranted a couple of laughs actually. Dean’s eye roll is good though.
Crowley goes on how for two months he’s lived under a rock “like a bloody salamander.” Still no sympathy. Every demon has his eyes out for him and now Crowley is the one raging. Sam and Dean just listen. “And yet here I am last place I should be, in the road, talking to Sam and Dean Winchester, under a freaking spotlight!” Which he promptly takes out with one wave of his hand. Aw, uptight demons can be so precious, can’t they? Sam and Dean calmly watch while Crowley pulls himself together. He pleads for them to come with him. “Please?” Both brothers look at him skeptically and Crowley’s patience is out. “Do you want the horseman rings or not?” Dean is surprised. “Yes, I know all about that, shall we?” Yeah, they’re going with him now.
They go to an abandoned house that looks a lot like the one Sam and Ruby hung out in last season. Those cookie cutter demon lairs. Crowley is practically embarrassed, not happy about the single paned glass and the used contraception in the fireplace, which he promptly lights with his hand. For some strange reason, Dean is impressed with that. Crowley tries to complain about the water damage but Dean cuts him off. “Now how do you know about the rings?” Crowley has been keeping a close eye on them. Sam mentions they had hex bags which hides them from demons. Yeah, there’s also the carvings on your ribs, but I guess that’s not relevant. Crowley brings up the last time they met, their “first date” he had his lackey hide a tracking device in their car. A small coin that trumps those bags of bones. I guess that would mean their ribs wouldn’t hide them either, as long as they were in the Impala. Many fans since this aired have challenged this idea of the tracking coin, calling it implausible. I think it makes sense. It’s possible it’s a common trick of one demon, especially one as powerful as Crowley. Maybe they all can’t make it work, or never thought of it.