As the most recent episode of Supernatural begins, Dean and Cass prepare to enter Purgatory, Sam and Eileen have been captured by Chuck.
Eileen has been his unwitting eyes on the inside. Her resurrection is due mostly to a few dropped hints on his end, pushing the Winchesters in the right direction.
Eileen is able to reach her phone and call Dean, but Chuck catches on pretty fast and ends the call. Dean knows now that Sam and Eileen are in trouble, but Cass convinces him that they need to go to Purgatory first because it is their best and only chance to stop Chuck.
Chuck wants to rid himself of the connection to Sam that is holding him back, but when it comes to probing Sam’s wound himself, he’s afraid to get hands on. So he controls Eileen and forces her to root around the wound with a scalpel.
Needless to say, this is hard on both of them. It’s pretty obvious after a while that Chuck isn’t getting anywhere by doing this and that it’s mostly for his sick entertainment.
Sam is incredibly defiant and holds up to Chuck’s every torture and manipulation. Sam has hope, which isn’t good for Chuck. Then he tells Sam that he doesn’t realize the consequences if they were to succeed in imprisoning him, so he shows Sam that future.
It’s a series of worsening events where the world is overrun by monsters and the brothers lose everyone they ever loved, eventually turning into monsters themselves. God is the only force keeping the tide of monters in check. Without him, the population of monsters will balloon out of control. At least, that’s what Chuck tells Sam.
Meanwhile, Dean and Cass meet a Leviathan who can show them, with a little forceful encouragement, where to find a Leviathan Blossom. It’s a plant that blooms where a Leviathan’s body decomposes after death. This Leviathan also tells them that Dean’s old pal Benny is dead, killed by his own kind.
Along the way, Cass confronts Dean about their feud. Dean blames Cass for leaving, but Cass explains that he gave him no choice. Dean was too angry and refused to forgive him and move on. Cass may have left, but Dean didn’t stop him.
At the place where the Leviathan brings them, there are indeed several blossoms present. Unfortunately, it’s an ambush. Cass is caught in an angel trap and Dean is knocked unconscious. Eve, mother of monsters, heard about their arrival and has a score to settle with Cass.
When Dean awakes, Cass is gone and the blossoms have been burned. The clock is running down and he has no idea where to find Cass or another blossom.
Eventually, with only 30 minutes left to get through the portal back home and no leads, Dean breaks down in a near panic. What if he can’t find Cass and he has to leave him behind? What if it’s too late to forgive Cass?
Dean takes a moment to pray to Cass in a beautifully emotional and vulnerable scene. Jensen Ackles is so good at these, the tears and honesty totally balancing out Dean’s rougher edges. He tells Cass he’s sorry he waited so long to forgive him, that he knows he gets too angry even though he tries not to.
“I should have stopped you,” he says. “You’re my best friend and I just let you go, because it was easier than admitting I was wrong.”
After all that, Cass is waiting for him near the portal. He’s a little beaten up, but he was able to escape the Leviathans and snag a blossom in the process. They’re still after him, but he did it. Dean hugs him and tells him he needs to say something, but Cass tells him he heard his prayer. All is forgiven as the friends go back home to put the spell together.
Once the spell is complete, Dean and Cass go to save Sam and Eileen and trap Chuck. But when Sam is released and he’s given the chance to take Chuck down, he doesn’t do it.
There’s a chance Chuck is lying, but Sam believes what he was told about the consequences if they win. For some reason, Sam losing hope frees Chuck from his connection with him and brings him back to full power. Chuck destroys the trap, their only chance to stop him.
It turns out that what Sam was seeing through his connection with Chuck wasn’t drafts of possible endings for them, but Chuck’s memories of other Sam and Deans from alternate Earths.
How many times have they died in other realities? One brother always ends up killing the other. Whatever Chuck thinks, they promise him that they will be the ones to defy him.
“Not this Sam,” promises Dean. “And not this Dean.”
“We’ll see,” says Chuck, an vanishes. Back at the bunker, Eileen decides to leave. After everything that happened, she doesn’t know what’s real anymore. Sam kisses her goodbye, saying, “I know that was real.” Despite her leaving, it’s good to see them finally get together.
Sam explains to Dean why he gave up their chance at stopping Chuck. He still believes that what Chuck told him was true, that the world would be overrun by monsters and that everything would be worse.
If Sam believes he did what was right, that’s good enough for Dean. They don’t know what’s next, but they know that somehow they’ll figure it out.
And it may have something to do with Jack! The episode closes out as Jack takes in his surroundings (or lack thereof) in the Empty as Billie/Death stands by. She says, “It’s time.”
Supernatural returns Thursday, January 23 at 8/7c on The CW.