It wouldn’t be a “Supernatural” season premiere without the hottest members of the Winchester family driving along a dark, wet, moonlit road in the Impala, speaking of “major super crapfest” and “superpowered dicks.”
Heaven’s lost its angels, and Sam is determined to figure out the whole angels-falling-like-morally-ambiguous-confetti thing, but Dean smolders wearily behind the wheel and advises Sam that the problem is “you” and informs him that he’s dying (again). Turns out, both the Impala and the conversation are entirely in Sam’s head.
Cut to Sam in the hospital with a bunch of tubes up his nose, and Dean smoldering sadly at his bedside, looking at a newscast of a worldwide “meteor shower.” The doctor informs Dean that Sam is in a coma and there’s nothing he can do about it, and that Sam’s survival is in God’s hands, at which time Dean flips out.
He prays to everyone’s favorite angel with the baby blues, Castiel. But when ol’ Cas doesn’t magically come to his side like a trenchcoated pet puppy, Dean announces “screw it” and puts out an APB for help to all the angels in general.
Cut to a rapid montage of a bunch of ordinary-looking people, who are in fact vesseled angels, who get the message promising their very own Dean Winchester Favor if they come help him. Of course, none are looking like they’re in a particularly angelic mood.
Cut back to Sam’s head, in which Head Dean explains the current situation to Head Sam, and Sam gets bummed out because “the whole reason he stopped the trials was not to die.” Head Dean, it turns out, is the part of Sam that’s Survival Sam but Head Sam thinks it’s a bum rap because Survival Sam is at a loss as to how to save Hospital Sam. Enter Bobbie Singer, who, it turns out, is Ready to Die Sam. They all share a moment of awkward silence. Bobby transports Sam from the car to a sunlight-mottled pine forest.
Cut to Cas in a trench coat on the side of the road almost getting run over by a car. He bleeds! And it hurts! He hears angels! He’s lost and confused! He knows he’s an angel (phew). The guy who almost runs him over is a decent human being and drives him to a gas station and even gives him some money.
Back at the hospital, a grief counselor advises Dean that it might be time to talk “about the inevitable.” Dean doesn’t really have that word in his vocabulary, and he doesn’t need to learn it, because he’s got the “king of hell in his trunk.” It’s good to be Dean.
He raps on the boot of the car, and lo! Crowley’s alive in the back, but Dean doesn’t have a chance to bargain or even to exchange insults because he gets attacked by an angel! Sometimes it’s not so good to be Dean. The angel wants to know where Cas is. Dean doesn’t know and he wouldn’t tell anyway. Another angel stops the first angel from shanking Dean. They fight. Mean Angel gets a sword in the back and Second Angel says he’s here to help — then faints.
A young woman who was watching Cas ominously from the backseat of a car tells him her name is Hale and that she’s a fellow fallen angel. Cas sits pensive and Hale reveals to him that his grace is gone, but he replies that he can still hear Angel Radio (hooray). She’s adrift and Cas tries to tell her that Earth isn’t so bad. She says she wants to see the Grand Canyon (because she made it the last time she was on Earth!)
Fainted Angel wakes up a fire circle. Dean is skeptical about his motivations, because Dean is always skeptical of other people’s motivations. Second Angel is called Ezekiel, who says some angels still believe in Cas and Dean and in the mission. Mission? Like, being angels and not apocalypse-bringing dicks?
Ezekiel tells Dean he should be able to cure Sam. Dean gets a call from Cas, who tells Dean that he was tricked by Metatron and no longer has his grace. Cas says he wants to go to Sam and Dean and thinks Ezekiel is a good soldier, which comforts Dean just a little. Because Cas is never wrong about who’s a good guy. Dean warns Cas that the angels are out to get him and of course Cas listens. Then the angels come for Sam and Dean, looking for Cas. Dean tries to angel-proof the hospital room.
Hale isn’t going to take no for an answer when Cas says he’s not coming with her to the Grand Canyon. She kidnaps him. Turns out, she’s pretty bitter about his role in getting them thrown out of heaven and tells him it’s all his fault. Turns out, she wants his vessel because his is stronger than hers, which is already decaying. She’s creepy.
Kidnapped Cas thinks of a very un-Cas-like plan to get free. He buckles up and crashes the car. It’s not exactly Jesus taking the wheel, and Hale goes flying through the windshield. She’s hurt but she lives, and she pulls the “hey, angels are dicks!” card even though Cas says all he ever wanted to do was help. She threatens to tell the angels where he is, and let the angels wreak terrible vengeance on him unless he agrees to let her possess him. He kills her. That’s probably a “no,” Hale.
In the autumnal woods of Sam’s mind, Sam and Bobby talk about how tired of fighting Sam is. Bobby advises him to just frickin’ die already. Sam’s done enough good in the world and it’s time to let go. Head Dean finds his way into the Death Woods and shanks Head Bobby. He tries to convince Sam to keep fighting. Sam says it’s frickin over and that there’s no plan. Head Dean delivers a right hook into Head Sam’s mournful face. They fight. Sam isn’t willing to battle for himself anymore. He goes into a cabin in the middle of the woods to find …. Death! He’s literally at death’s door. Yep.
Back at the hospital, glass is flying, angels (including Grief Counselor Lady. Who saw that coming? She seemed so nice.) attack Dean and beat him. They want to know where Castiel is and they’ve got lethal intent. Dean returns their punches with stubborn retorts. And then he does the magic blood circle thing where they get thrown back into wherever.
In a twist that has never, ever happened ever in the history of the show, it turns out that Dean will do ANYTHING to save Sam. But he doesn’t have to sacrifice his soul this time — just his conscience and principles. After much yelling and smoldering and rationalizing, he agrees to help Ezekiel trick Sam into letting him possess Sam, which would cure both Sam and angel. Poor Sam. He just wants to die, man.
They observe what’s going on in Sam’s head. Death informs Sam that it’s an honor to finally collect him, because he’s a very classy Death. Sam tells Death that if he agrees to die, he wants it to be permanent, forever, no more coming back to a riot of world-ending problems.
Head Dean enters the Death Cabin. He apologizes for not bringing Death cronuts and tells Sam he can fix everything, but not if he shuts him out. Death agrees it’s for Sam to decide. Dean pulls the “we’re so frickin’ codependent” card and Sam reconsiders. He agrees. And then Ezekiel possesses him! Sam only has a brief second to look shocked.
Ezekiel-as-Sam walks out of the hospital with Dean and they argue over whether to ever tell Sam that he’s been possessed. Ezekiel says they shouldn’t tell Sam because Sam could eject him and then die. Dean smolders, looks world-weary, and agrees to keep quiet until the time is right, if ever.
Cas walks into a laundromat, splattered with blood, and goes to wash his trench coat and everything underneath. But just as he’s about to put the quarters in the slot, he realizes how terribly hungry he is and spends the money at the vending machine instead. He walks out with stolen clothes, drinking a bottle of water dry. Welcome to the mortal world, Castiel. The dilemma of whether to buy Cheetos or launder your clothes with your last dollar is as old as humankind.
Sam and Dean ride in the car, and it’s Sam who wakes — Ezekiel is hiding somewhere inside. Waiting. Watching. Healing. He feels tired and doesn’t remember anything since Season 8. Dean blows off his questions with a few jokes. He lies. Maybe it’s really not so good to be Dean.
Opening song: Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love”
New show name sequence: Angel Radio droning and burning wings