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This week's episode pulled no punches
This week's Supernatural pulls no punches, delivering an emotional gut punch of an hour with a death count to rival that of Game of Thrones. The episode, titled "The Rupture," finds Team Free Will backed into a corner as more ghosts escape from hell and Belphegor's rapidly declining barrier struggles to keep those restless spirits at bay.
Rowena (Ruth Connell) attempts to strengthen its hold with a spell, but she's knocked to the floor after seeing a vision of all the trapped ghosts. They're too strong, and she can feel them all desperately fighting to get out. They need a game plan, and, conveniently enough, Belphegor (Alexander Calvert) already has one. They can rid the demons from Earth with Lilith's crook, a device that will supposedly call the escaped souls back to the underworld. Everyone is on board, including Rowena, who calls dibs on Sam (Jared Padalecki) as her assistant. It makes sense that she would choose the floppy-haired Winchester since he's the most experienced witch of the bunch (and they share a special bond). Meanwhile, Castiel (Misha Collins) and Belphegor travel to hell to retrieve the crook, and Dean (Jensen Ackles) waits by the rift to help seal it once the spell is completed. Airtight plan, right? Not exactly. Let's break it down.
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Part 1: Cas and Belphegor
Under any other circumstance, this would have been a fun buddy cop team-up. However, Cas can't stand to look at Belphegor, who's currently parading around in Jack's body. They make their way to Lilith's chamber and find a chest that seems like the perfect place to hide the crook. Cas tries to no avail to open it with some monotonous chanting in Enochian, but it isn't until he uses his angelic voice to sing the ancient language that it finally opens.
Just when they retrieve the crook, a demon who did a very bad thing -- we'll get to that later -- shows up and confronts them. She knows exactly who Belphegor is and warns Cas that he isn't being forthcoming about his intent to rule hell. Before she can elaborate, Belphegor kills her, which isn't suspicious at all. But Cas catches on, questioning Belphegor's motives, and the latter finally reveals his true reasoning for bringing them all the way down there. The crook isn't so much a horn as it is a siphon that Belphegor plans to use to consume the souls of the escaped demons and make himself all powerful. Before Cas can even process that information, Belphegor plays the horn and his plan commences.
Part 2: Dean and the rift
When he isn't taking his pent-up anger out on Cas, Dean spends most of this episode chilling in the graveyard with his gun and ammo waiting for Arthur Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) to show up. Unbeknownst to him, Ketch was murdered (RIP) in the hospital by the same demon who tried to warn Cas of Belphegor's true intentions.
Part 3: Sam and Rowena
Elsewhere, Sam and Rowena begin the spell to strengthen the barrier. But as they perform the incantation, Belphegor also calls the souls back with Lilith's crook so it looks like the spell is working. Dean, also believing that everything is going according to plan, even tosses the crystal bomb into the rift. Then everything stops. Did it work? Not exactly. Cas smites Belphegor, who pretends to be Jack, midway through the spell and burns his body to a crisp. Judging by that pain-stricken expression, he'll be dealing with the guilt of mutilating his adoptive son's body for quite some time.
Meanwhile, Rowena realizes something has gone wrong and that there's virtually nothing they can do except for one thing, but Sam's not gonna like it. In order to return the ghosts to hell for good, she'll need to perform one last spell. Cutting out her resurrection satchel, she reveals the cost of the magical solution: her life. That's right: Rowena has to die, and Sam is the only person who can do it. It's all part of the prophecy that's been looming over their heads until this point. But Sam can't bring himself to do it until Rowena makes an emotional plea to convince him otherwise.
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"I know we've gotten really fond of each other," Rowena tells Sam. "But will you let the world die -- your brother die -- just so I can live?" Sam says no, and they embrace, both brimming with tears. He then stabs her, completing the prophecy and kicking the spell into high gear. Rowena walks out of the tomb, Sam following closely behind, as she absorbs the souls from hell. This is her moment, and everyone's just taking it in. As she reaches the edge of the rift, Rowena turns around to deliver her final words. "Goodbye, boys," she says before falling into the rift. Her sacrifice essentially undoes the damage Chuck (Rob Benedict) inflicted, and things return to normal. The souls are gone, and the Winchesters can finally take a breath.
Rowena's death is devastating for Sam, who's mourning her alone in his room at the end of the hour. Dean checks in on Sam and attempts to comfort his little bro by reminding him he had no other option; Rowena had to die. Though Sam agrees, it does little to quell his troubled mind.
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That leaves us with Dean and Castiel. To say that there's been tension between the two is an understatement. Dean has been testy with Cas since Mary's (Samantha Smith) death, and now that the Chuck situation has been handled, he's ready to let it all out. Dean starts another argument by confronting Cas about not sticking to their original game plan, and Cas is ready to push back, refusing to continue being a punching bag for Dean's frustrations. Cas cuts to the root of the problem, relaying what we've suspected for a while: The elder Winchester blames him for Mary's death. Dean doesn't have a witty retort, and Cas knows there's nothing left to say, so it's time to leave. For good. "Jack's dead. Chuck's done. You and Sam have each other. I think it's time for me to move on," Cas tells Dean. Is this really happening?
Dean does nothing to stop Cas, and that's where we end the episode. Who else needed to watch puppy videos after this?
"I'm not freaked, I'm pissed. This sloppy ass ghostpocalypse? That's his ending? I'll be dammed if I let some glorified fanboy get the last word." -- Dean Winchester
"You're wearing Jack, who's like a son to me, as a coat. Every second of your presence is intolerable." -- Sad dad Castiel
"Cas, your voice... It's like, uh, like an angel." -- Belphegor
"I know we've gotten really fond of each other, but will you let the world die -- your brother die -- just so I can live?" - Rowena
"Goodbye, boys." - Rowena
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)