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(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. â€œEast?” Both Sam and Dean reply. â€œBobby, 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. â€œFancy 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. â€œYou 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. â€œYou 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. â€œAre you actually listening to this?” Dean shushes him with his finger and a calm “Sam.” â€œAre you freaking nuts?!” Sam yells. â€œShut 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. â€œIt’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. â€œWhich 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. â€œThey burnt down my house!” Nope, still no sympathy. â€œThey 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. â€œAnd 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. â€œPlease?” Both brothers look at him skeptically and Crowley’s patience is out. â€œDo you want the horseman rings or not?” Dean is surprised. â€œYes, 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. â€œNow 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.



# Tigershire 2010-05-07 15:37
You know, in past seasons I would have been screaming at Bobby to say "NO" at the end of this episode. I'd worry until the next epi to find out what happens and if he said yes or not.

Now, I think I'm in th same mindset at the characters. I REALLY didn't want Bobby to say yes to Crowley but considering the situation and the immenent end of the season.......I sucked it up and accepted that he was probably going to say yes and even though I didn't like the option any more than he did, I can see that while Bobby still had a choice, the unpleasent one was likely to bear fruit.

What does it mean that the most shocking moment was Sam accidently stabbing the Impala's seat? Am I becoming jaded? Actually, not likley. I can just see the progression of the story line. And, for me it doesn't dimish my enjoyment in the show (thankfully), especially since I revel in the quality of the acting as much as in the story.

Nice recap, as always, Alice. :-)
# Sablegreen 2010-05-07 16:05
Nice recap, Alice. I was shocked when Sam sunk that knife into the impala. Dean said nothing! I would have thought Dean would have had a fit! Sam and that knife are becoming quite a twosome.

Loved the screencaps of Dean and Sam when Dean agrees to go with Crowley. Crowley is a funny character, but tagging around with a demon has never been good for the boys.

Yes, I was suprised Sam was still awake after all that whiskey, maybe it takes two bottles to affect a moose! :lol:

There were definitely slow spots in it for me. I really would like to see more action. Miss that for sure!
# BagginsDVM 2010-05-07 23:41
I think I let out a little yelp when Sam stuck the knife by accident into the Impala. Dean must have been really distracted not to notice that!
That shot of the ghostly Impala in the alley was beautiful. Can't wait to see that image on the DVD without the CW logo marring the view.

Sam standing there in the alley, so silently imposing & ominous, gave me chills.
# Randal 2010-05-08 15:31
Don't get me started on Jethro fucking Tull. Did you really have to mention that travesty?

Hey, Grammy voters, arguably the finest metal album ever? Did I mention EVER? I know those awards are more worthless than a birdcage's used newsprint, but c'mon. Wankers.

The one danger in a show such as this (or the X-Files, to name an obvious example) when there's a heavy, consecutive dose of mytharc stuff, is that there will be slow spots for setting up the big payday, but since they were, as you pointed out, entertaining, I can certainly live with it.

Always easier to sell vast depths of offscreen stuff when it's a MOTW instead of The End Of The Freaking World®.
# Jasminka 2010-05-08 19:41
Alice, loved this. This episode might have its weaknesses, but I loved it anyway. I seem to have a knack for the tragic, dark stories. Tell me about it.

The brothers' modus operandi is slowly changing, and watching their faces, it creeps me out - what might be going on in there? How can they stand it any longer? There were moments I just wanted to step into the tv and give them a hug.

I needed one myself.

The alley fight in the end kept me on edge long after it was over. Sam's slow advance on Brady, his trembling, yet decisive 'Start' was like a knife in my gut. 'INteresting theory' was another. Dean looking on was heartwrenching, with Sam walking to the car quietly, but there was that tension in his shoulders...

I made my bed when I began to love this show, but right now I feel like it's killing me. Ah, I wonder what being undead might feel like.#

Thanks for this amazing recap, dear. Love Jas