In the cheekily reto motel room, the Winchesters bond over the song “As Time Goes By.” Henry had bought a young John a music box to chase his fears away at night. But John often hummed that tune while Sam and Dean were growing up. It’s a small, perfect moment in an episode full of small, intimate touches. Of course, it’s ruined by the messy storm of hard knocks the Winchesters call life. Abbadon, as listed in John’s prolific journal, is a knight of hell, one of the first demons to fall and the fiercest creatures. She, like Henry, is the last of her kind.
There are few things that I adore more than watching Jensen Ackles play Dean at his most vulnerable, and he tears into Henry for being an absentee father, for putting his duty before his son’s well-being (Let's try to swallow that coming from the dutiful soldier himself). He sums up Johns life in a terse, ugly eulogy: he “survived a lonely childhood, a stinking war, only to get married and to have his wife taken by a demon and later killed by one himself.” While the situation is gut-wrenchingly complicated, the anger feels misplaced. Or maybe it's thirty years of familiar grief spilling out.
It’s clear that Henry time-traveled to the future and could never get back and that he is not long for this world.
Henry reads John’s journal, absorbing all of the evil his son encountered before his death. He sneaks off to re-create the blood sigil and get back to the past to right his wrongs, raise his son and probably spare his life.
Dean goes after Henry and Sam heads to Larry’s house to learn about the box. The box Abbadon is after is “a key to every object, scroll spell every collected ever collect for thousands of years. It’s the supernatural mother lode” or the very thing that will help them read the Tablet of God that Kevin Tran is currently killing himself trying to decipher.
Larry gives Sam the coordinates to “the safest place on earth” where the key would be lost forever from evil…and good.
If you noticed that Larry’s wife slithered more than moved, you probably figured out that she was Abbadon in grandma’s clothing and wastes no time taking Sam hostage. As much as I love my Sammy, I do wish that she would have done something more sinister or...bloody than just punching him in the face and tying him up.
Here’s when takes an extreme turn for the gray. Abbadon offers to trade Sam for Henry and the box. Unable to talk Henry from fruitlessly trying to change the past, Dean takes him by force. “When my dad died, I couldn’t save him. I never want that to happen to Sam, ever. If there’s a chance I can save him, I’m going to do it. He’s my brother and he’s the only family I got,” Dean vows to his own grandfather. He’s not one for extended family, but he’ll always have his brother’s back.
Not surprisingly, the demon double-crosses them. She shoves her hand into Henry’s stomach when he refuses to hand over the box. He then shoots her, planting a bullet with a devil’s trap carved onto the tip into her head, which renders her powerless. Having planned the double-cross of the double-cross, Dean lops her head off. Like Leviathan, they can’t exactly kill Abbadon, but they can make demon tartare and scatter it in cement.
Henry dies, of course, leaving Sam and Dean the box, and these final words: “You’re also Winchesters. As long as we’re alive, there’s always hope.”
It was an emotional moment, but in a painfully confounding one. Did Dean sentence his grandfather to death to save Sam? Did doing that rob his own father of a life without his father? Could Henry have successfully jumped back into the past and stopped Abbadon? You be the judge. It has been established that you cannot change the past, and especially with the Winchesters, certain things are meant to be. It was meant to be that John Winchester, a legacy of Men of Letters, would marry Mary Campbell, a legacy of hunters. It was written that Sam and Dean would be a lethal (and gorgeous) combination of intelligence and an action. It was ordained that one of those children would also be tainted with demon blood.
Sam and Dean were fated to save the world, and Henry’s life and death was another sacrificial piece of the elaborate puzzle. From A to F, “In The Beginning” to “Red Sky At Morning,” this episode was a destined to be a solid B.
What did you think of this episode? Do you want to learn more about the Men of Letters? Do you wish Henry and/or Abbadon would have lived? Do you think it’s weird that Dean has Castiel’s feathers in his trunk? Hit up the comments section.
Next week, Sam's world is rocked as something towers over him. EGADS!