Then! Now! Now is the best of nows, because now is the return of everyone's favorite dysfunctional brothers, the Winchesters. We begin with a recap of Season 8. At this point the season recaps are essentially one second flashes of random images. (So, the Internet?) Remember Benny? And that bitch who killed Grampa Winchester? So much happened, but the main thing you must remember is Sam is dying in his gambit to save the world. You know, just a typical day in the life of television's most dysfunctional brothers (I'll take them over the brooding alcoholics of Vampire Diaries any day. Even though they're still brooding. And alcoholics.)
In the beginning, Sam and Dean are driving down the road. They're always driving down the road, whether it's through the fields of Kansas or the path that crisscrosses heaven, this is where they belong. But they're not really in the car, and they're not really on the road. Sam is comatose, and the Dean we see is the part of Sam's mind that thinks like his brother. Healthy, right? (Res, there’s a part of my brain that thinks like you, it’s probably not as strange as you think. It’s called “empathy.”) (Doc, there’s a part of my brain that thinks like you, too. Let’s not forget who around here has the soul, k?) They're going to fight this thing (hey, that's what they do! They fight things!) but then Bobby shows up and a million squeals were heard across America. He convinces Sam (well technically, Sam convinces himself) that fighting might not be the best answer, as he fittingly represents that part of Sam that is too old for this shit.
Meanwhile, Dean is having all sorts of self-imposed angel problems. Unable to reach Castiel, he sends out an open prayer to any angel listening on Angel Radio (it's similar to Sirius, but the fee involves having to Put Up With This Shit instead of dollars). Most of these angels just fell from their eternal war and CIA-like intrigues and are pissed at Castiel for his role in causing this lifestyle change. I’m not sure why, as it looks like most of them fell into cushy human lifestyles and just carried on with whatever the vessels were up to before The Fall (my plan to co-op and bastardize every Christian concept into something for this show is working). Why else would you be noshing on breakfast with the kids or cutting down trees or whatever if you’re an angel with divine and violent purpose?
Several angels respond to Dean – at least one of them means him harm (which, for Dean, is fairly low odds). He attacks Dean with a low-grade archangel sword that looks like it was purchased at Target. Dean is saved by Ezekiel, who has chosen a very handsome vessel indeed. (Doc disputes this on grounds that he is generic CW pretty.) During a phone call when Cas finally reaches Dean, he assures him that Ezekiel is a friend and a good soldier.
Dean advises Cas to stay away since the angels are out to get him. Unfortunately, Cas is already in deep trouble. He has no money or people skills, if it weren't for a kind stranger he probably wouldn't even have made it to a gas station. There, after threatening a biker in the least intimidating way possible, an angel named Hale locates him. She (He? I need rules on angel gender.) has chosen a waifish vessel who looks about as intimidating as a baby deer. Still, girlfriend constructed the Grand Canyon. With focus like that, it's no wonder she has opted to hate Castiel for ruining everyone's good time in heaven. Retaliation is sweetest when delivered with a 2x4 to the head.
She kidnaps Cas (since she’s a meta stand-in for every fangirl ever) and wants to hitch a ride with him inside his vessel. Most of us have been in that situation, when your blind date is just a little too into you to be sane. That's how poor Cas felt now, which is why he first causes a car crash and then kills Hale with his badass non-Target archangel sword. (Also Res, I’ve never ended a blind date like that…). To be fair, he feels pretty bad about everything he's done since the aversion of the apocalypse. He heads to a laundromat and steals some clothes. Thanks, writers, for the gratuitous nudity. We, your female fans, appreciated it.
Back to Sam – he's listened to the Bobby voice inside his head, and he's ready to die. Despite the warnings of the Dean in his head (and the wishes of the Dean in the hospital), Sam enters the cabin in his mind where Death is waiting for him. There is a touching moment when even Death has to acknowledge the great things Sam has done for mankind. Sam makes Death promise that if he dies this time, there is no going back. I guess we know how season ten will end.
After fighting off some angels seeking retribution, Ezekiel is injured and unable to use any remaining power to heal Sam. Dean is almost ready to accept Sam's death, but then remembers that he isn’t that well-adjusted. Ezekiel tells him that the best option is for him to possess Sam so he can heal them both. After like a nanosecond of consideration, Dean reverts to his default setting: protect Sammy. Loki warned you all the way back in season 3, you guys have to stop saving each other.
Nevertheless, Ezekiel impersonates Dean and enters Sam's mind. He convinces/guilts Sam to stay a little longer, to save the world. When Sam wakes, he’s possessed by Ezekiel and Jared Padalecki gets to act ridiculously non-human for a bit. Inside Sam’s meat suit, Ezekiel promises Dean that neither he nor Sam will remember that Sam is possessed. If Sam finds out that he is possessed, it is likely that he will reject Ezekiel and they will both die. Shortly afterward the boys wake up in the car, back where they started and ready to save the world.
Next week: Demon shit happens, but more importantly, CROWLEY! If you feel like getting our reactions minute by minute, feel free to follow The Res or Doc on twitter.