The Winter Finale, “The Things We Left Behind”, was an episode full of so many feels. Especially at the end. But we’ll get to that in a bit. In Then, several worries in the Supernatural universe take center stage: Dean and his battle with The Mark, Cas and his guilt over Jimmy Novak, and Crowley finding that his mother is alive and well. These are the three themes of the night. And neither one comes with an easy answer.
The episode opens with Dean. It’s the scene that we’ve seen from the promo. He’s crouched in a room, looking very, very murderous. Bodies lie all around him. And he’s covered in blood. Next moment, he wakes with a start. Oh good! It was a dream! Nothing to worry about. Right?
Well at least Dean can enjoy The Three Stooges, and Sam is happy to join in – his brother laughing and eating his favorite meals! Nothing’s wrong.
We catch up with Claire Novak, Jimmy’s daughter, in the next scene. She’s being escorted through white hallways by a police officer. Oh boy. Not good. It turns out she’s been a troublemaker since season 4. She’s been dumped off to her Grandma’s house in order for her mom to “find herself”. After her Grandma died, she’s been moving from group home to group home. And escaping every chance she gets. So, as punishment, she’s put in 48 hours isolation. Castiel shows up and visits Claire. Which doesn’t really help things. When she asks if her dad was still inside him, he tries to give her comfort: that Jimmy was in Heaven, due to his body being ripped apart on a subatomic level by an archangel. Way to go, Raphael.
Cas tells Claire that if he can help her in any way, he would. So, being the escapee she is, she asks Cas to get her out of the group home. At first they try the legal way: Cas posing as Jimmy, and asking for full custody of her. That fails. Plan B: break Claire out in the middle of the night. Being an angel, that’s not really a problem for Cas. He knocks out the guard on duty and they both walk calmly into the night.
Meanwhile, over in the dungeon, Rowena is still locked up. Crowley refuses to speak with her. At least she’ll have company: another demon is thrown in the dungeon with her. The demon says that she escaped from Hell without Crowley’s consent, was caught, and well, here we are.
Castiel takes Claire out to a diner and gives her a free meal. It’s an awkward sitting at first, but they both warm up to each other. Claire even tells Cas that he’s different: more friendly, less… righteous. “There is no righteous path. It’s just people trying to do their best in a world where it’s far too easy to do your worst.” He replies. Cas even plays a doting father for a minute. “You should eat some vegetables.” He suggests to Claire. She responds: “Ketchup is a vegetable.” Which, I guess it technically is. Cas pays the bill and gets some supplies for the road. Claire heads over to the bathroom, bumping into Cas. When Cas goes to pay for the supplies, that’s when the evening takes a turn. Claire had stolen his wallet and run off. Cas even tried to get her a magazine that she liked! What the heck, Claire!
Cas calls Sam and Dean asking for help. Dean stops to say that a teenage girl running off is not an emergency. Apocalypse #3 is an emergency. But even though Dean grumbles, the brothers decide to help anyways. And good thing too because Claire is in trouble, and Dean and Cas need to talk.
Sam goes off to track down Claire, Dean and Cas decide to stay back at the diner just in case she shows up. Cas and Dean enjoy each other’s company. (Yay! *happy feels*) Cas even asks Dean if ketchup really is a vegetable. “Heck yes it is!” But Dean adds not to trust him: he’s not a good role model. Cas disagrees. (Aww!) Cas asks how Dean is doing, really doing and Dean confesses to him his fears: that if he goes “dark side” again, that Cas needs to take him out. “I can’t go down that road again,” he says, “I can’t be that thing again.” He also asks Cas to keep Sam out of the way. Because Sam would definitely try to help him again.
Meanwhile, Claire has run back to her “family”, consisting of a criminal dad, Randy, and foster brother, Dustin, who works at the Wiener Hut. The dad is low on money, betting on the ponies, and is due to pay back a loan shark. He’s been ordering the children to steal money for him. Claire brings him Cas’s wallet, saying there’s $200. Turns out Randy needs $5,000. So he asks Claire to rob a convenience store.
Cas tracks Claire down in the store, and grabs her arm just as she’s about to pull a gun on the cashier. Thankfully Cas hid the gun, otherwise the cops would’ve been involved. Again. He takes her outside of the store and berates her like any father wood. I don’t know about you guys, but it would be AWESOME to have Cas as a dad. Anyways, Claire runs away from Cas. And a frustrated Team Free Will decides to hit a bar. There, they talk about daddy issues. Cas says he never knew his father, that he was distant. Dean talks about John Winchester and recounts a tale where Dean had run off, snuck into CBGB in New York, and got drunk. There, John found Dean and dragged him out of the bar. Dean was furious at him and John told him: “It’s not my job to be liked. It’s my job to raise you right.”
Over in his dungeon, Crowley finally talks to Rowena. They both agree that she was a terrible mother. To make matters worse, 8 year old Crowley was abandoned with no one to look after him. Not even a father. She excuses herself, saying the townspeople sicked hounds on her and that Crowley was conceived during a Winter Solstice orgy and that she wasn’t really taking names. Even so, Crowley is troubled about killing his mother. Hah! Poor baby Crowley!
Claire gets back to her home. A group of thugs surround Randy in a chair. They’re threatening to cut the “dad” over gambling debts. Claire spits in the thug’s face and is dragged to her room. The thug offers a deal to Randy: debts forgotten for the girl. For a moment, just a moment, maybe, Randy will choose Claire over himself. But, of course, he doesn’t. And this is why he isn’t a main character.
Cas, Sam, and Dean break into the house just in time. Cas hears Claire screaming from her room, the thug has her on the ground and is preparing to do his worst. He uses his angel powers and pushes the man off of her. Cas holds on to Claire. They leave. Sam does too. But Dean is left behind with the thug, his minions, and Randy. One of the thugs smash a bottle over Dean’s head. And Dean turns to him, a familiar blood trail on his face. OH GREAT. Yeah. This isn’t good.
Back in the dungeon, Crowley comes to visit his mother again. With Gerald. Rowena gets the girl demon to lie about who was smuggling souls up from Hell. She claims that it was Gerald. In a fit of demonic anger, Gerald has Rowena pinned up against the wall, threatening to kill her. He ignores Crowley ordering him to let her go. That he scared her enough. Crowley repeats it several times. Gerald still ignoring it. Until an angel blade is shoved through the back of his head. Crowley leaves Gerald’s body behind in the dungeon and walks to the door. He turns to his mother, and asks if she’s coming. She straightens herself proudly and walks out of the cell, leaving the female demon behind. Like mother, like son, like mother.
Cas, Claire, and Sam climb into The Impala and wait for Dean. But he doesn’t come. Instead, they hear men screaming from inside the house. Sam races out of the car, Cas and Claire following quickly. OHKAY WHY DID CAS BRING CLAIRE?! Claire screams as the trio see Dean’s nightmare for themselves: Dean, crouched in the living room, bodies scattered, blood everywhere. Sam grabs his brother’s face and BEGS Dean to say he had to kill them. That it was him or the thugs. Dean confesses that he didn’t have to kill him, and that he wanted to.
Turns out that having sex, watching The Three Stooges, eating hamburgers, driving The Impala – Dean was just trying to be himself again. To satisfy The Mark of Cain in other ways. But there’s really only one way The Mark can be sated: blood.
On January 20th, Supernatural will return. With the return comes the problem of The Mark… and Metatron, who is thrilled that Dean lost. It’s okay, Supernatural fans! We shall overcome! And first, we shall overcome this hiatus! Probably…