We open with the Impala pulling up to a spooky, run-down house. The brothers dig into the trunk, and Dean pulls out two Tasers he’s amped to 100,000 volts. We find out the boys are hunting a raw-head. This is an interesting monster we haven’t seen so far, but alas, it’s only a brief set-up for our main conflict.
The boys go inside, find two children stored in a cupboard for later eating, and start to take them to safety. The raw-head grabs Sam’s ankle through the stairs, kids scream, Dean shoots his Taser and misses, and the raw-head takes off. Dean tells Sam to get the kids out, so Sam gives him his Taser and exits while Dean goes hunting. The raw-head ambushes him and punches him in the head, which knocks him onto the waterlogged floor of the basement. He’s not knocked out, but he’s clearly dazed, so I’m giving him one o’ these:
What Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?
Congratulations, Dean! You’ve caught up to your brother.
The raw-head comes after Dean, who shoots it with the Taser. The good news: it gets fried! The bad news: it’s standing in the same puddle, so Dean gets fried, too. Since Tasers do at least briefly impair cognitive functioning and he got hit with at least twice the normal amount of juice, rendering him unconscious, let’s give him another.
What Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?
Dean: 5 6
A frantic Sam comes back to collect him. The scene changes to a hospital, where Sam is sorting out insurance details and talking to cops while clearly distraught. The cops are very kind and sympathetic, since he and his brother are total heroes for saving the kidnapped kids. Sam feeds them a line of bullshit about how they just happened to hear some screaming while passing through the neighborhood. Then he finds out from a doctor that Dean’s suffered a massive heart attack and his heart is pretty much destroyed. Sam has the typical denial reaction, but the doc assures him there’s nothing to be done – Dean’s only got weeks to live. We go visit Dean in his hospital bed, where he puts on his best stiff upper lip, complains about daytime teevee and the Snuggle fabric softener bear, and then tells Sam it looks like he’ll be going on without Dean.
Toxic Masculinity: 1
“Healthy Processing Of Our Emotions”: 1
Yeah, it gets one of each for that bullshit men-aren’t-allowed-to-show-sadness-when-dying crap.
Dean basically tells Sam to suck it up because shit happens and there’s nothing he can do. Sam begs to differ. The scene changes to show his hotel room table filled with printouts of different pages on heart health. We hear John Winchester’s voicemail pick up. Sam leaves him an emotional message about Dean’s condition, and tells him not to worry.
Daddy Issues: 1
“Healthy Processing Of Our Emotions”: 2
There’s a knock at the door, and Dean staggers in, looking like death warmed over. He says he checked himself out because he doesn’t want to “die in a hospital when the nurses aren’t even hot.”
Definitely Hetero Dean: 1
Sam calls him on the laugh-in-the-face-of-death bullshit, then tells him he’s been scouring the internet and calling all of their dad’s friends for the past few days. He’s got a lead on a “specialist” in Nebraska. So off they go, despite Dean’s head-shaking. Signs aren’t promising, considering the sick and crippled have to drag themselves across a field of sloppy mud through the rain to a tent. Dean’s pissed because Sam snookered him into seeing a faith healer and chews him out.
Brotherly Love: 1
I’m damn amused.
They pass a protestor, still arguing, with Sam playing the part of Mulder, and Dean being a hard-nosed Scully about believing only in the things he knows to be real. Sam tries to argue about evil being evident, therefore good must exist, but Dean ain’t having any of it. Then Darla shows up to give us the “Maybe God works in mysterious ways” line. Dean goes from angry denier to cheerfully willing to be persuaded instantly. Gosh, I wonder why.
Definitely Hetero Dean: 2
Dean perks up enough to flirt with Darla, who is a woman named Layla, but I don’t believe it for an instant. In my head canon, that’s really Darla, who has somehow returned from the dead (again) as a human and will be the conduit to a massive Angel/SPN crossover someday, although hopefully starring Spike and Drusilla rather than Angel.
Oh. Right. We were supposed to be recapping this episode… Anyhoo. The boys go in for their healing experience, and Dean returns to his cynical self. Sam makes him sit up front – which happens to be right behind Darla Layla. Pastor Roy Le Grange turns out to be a white dude with a Texas accent, and about the only thing that’s surprising about him is that he’s blind. Dean catches his attention by making a snippy remark about his ability to see into people’s wallets. It gets him called up onto the stage for a healing. Dean tries to get him to choose someone else, but Le Grange says the Lord chose ‘im, so up he has to go.
The congregation prays, the pastor lays on hands, and Dean is healed, yay! As he comes round from the shock, he sees a sinister beastie beside the pastor.
Waaaal that don’t look Christian.
Sam takes Dean to the local hospital, where all his tests come back clean. The doctor tells him weird things can happen, like that totally healthy twenty-seven year-old who died of a massive heart attack right about the time he was getting hisself healed. Sam tries to talk him out of questioning the miracle, but Dean felt all hinky about his healing and wants to dig into this. So he sends Sam to inquire after the heart attack victim while he pays a visit to Pastor Le Grange. The pastor’s wife is all nervous and burbles about how wow, miracles just happen so often around the dear man! We get the pastor’s backstory: he woke up blind and discovered he had a cancerous brain tumor, month to live, they prayed, blah de blah. Everything except his eyes got healed, and now he can heal. How nice. Dean wants to know why he was chosen, and Le Grange tells him he saw into his heart, and that he had a purpose that isn’t finished yet. Awww.
Sam’s getting the low-down on the heart attack victim, who dropped dead while running away screaming something was after him. And gosh, there’s a clock that froze at the same time the dude died, which happens to be the exact time Dean was healed. What a coinky-dink.
Meanwhile, Darla Layla and her mom show up at Pastor Le Grange’s to find out why he never picks Layla, who is dying of a brain tumor. Dean’s horrified. Mom’s pissed because Le Grange keeps choosing these icky unbelieving strangers over her daughter, and makes Dean feel like shit for surviving when Layla’s gonna die. Drama-lama-ding-dong.
Dean goes back to the hotel, where Sam’s been busy cross-checking Le Grange’s healings with victims, and has discovered there’s a death for every miracle. Someone dies of the same disease Le Grange heals. While the brothers discuss this, we see a jogger in the woods, and Le Grange healing a dude on oxygen in a wheelchair. The jogger gets attacked by the creepy dude as Dean declares there’s only one creature who can give and take life like that: a Reaper. We see the Reaper take the young jogger’s life and return to heal the old dude.
Death by Monstrosity: 1
Pastor Le Grange smiles happily, the congregation applauds, Layla’s mom glowers, and the montage ends.
We return to the hotel, where the boys go on discussing Reapers. Conveniently for us, Sam knows nothing about them, so Dean explains the whole thing, including scoffing away its wearing a suit instead of robes. Sam remembers a cross he saw in the faith healing tent and correlates it to a cross on the Death card in his tarot deck. They realize Le Grange is controlling the Reaper and argue about how to solve it. Sam refuses to consider killing Le Grange. So they go to find the black magic the pastor is using and destroy it. They run into the protestor and encourage him in getting out the news that Le Grange is a fraud. Then Sam breaks into the pastor’s house while a smiling Le Grange is guided into the tent by his wife and an assistant. After some searching which includes Sam cleverly finding a clean spot in the dust on the book shelves, he find news clippings of all the previous victims – and one about the protestor. He calls Dean to let him know the poor protestor is next. And, of course, Layla’s called up at just that moment.
Dean tries to talk her out of getting healed, but of course fails miserably. So the Reaper goes after the protestor in the parking lot. Sam tries to save him although he can’t see the Reaper himself. Dean screams “FIRE!” in the tent to break up the healing. While everyone evacuates, he calls Sam to let him know he’s stopped it, but the reaper attacks the protestor while they chat. This prompts Dean to look around for the culprit controlling the Reaper, and surprise! It’s Roy’s wife. She screams for help and Dean is dragged out by sheriff’s deputies, but the protestor is saved. Poor Dean gets chewed out by the pastor’s wife, the cops, and Layla.
As he goes to join Sam, he overhears Le Grange promising to heal Layla in a private session. Dear oh dear.
Sam shows him the book he found with the clippings and instructions for binding a Reaper. Dean’s all understanding about why she’d have used the spell to save her husband while Sam’s all “Ewww black magic evil!” It’s a neat role-reversal for the two. Of course, now she’s just using the Reaper to go after people she personally doesn’t like, such as abortion rights activists and anti-faith healer protestors. So they’ll need to destroy all her black magic stuff. They go out there, but Layla and her mom are already there. Dean has a moment of regret that Layla wasn’t picked instead of him. Sam tries to talk him out of the guilt and points out they can’t let someone else die to save her. So off they go to interrupt the proceedings. Dean draws off the deputies guarding the house, sending Sam to find and destroy the altar. Of course, Dean evades the cops only to get caught by the Reaper, and it looks like that earlier healing will be for naught, because Sue Ann has decided he’s all wicked and God wants him to die. Sam’s destroyed the altar, but now she’s got him locked in the cellar with it, and she still has the cross she uses to control the Reaper. Things look very bad for our plucky heroes! However, Sam gets free in the nick of time and destroys her black magic cross. Layla’s healing is interrupted. The Reaper comes for Sue Ann, who has really pissed it off by enslaving it. Too bad it wasn’t kind enough to use that life energy on Layla, but most Reapers are assholes.
The boys take off back to the hotel, where Dean is filled with angst over the whole situation. Layla drops by to visit, and tells Dean that her healing failed. But she’s totally okay with that. She’s got faith even when the miracles don’t happen. And that causes Dean to have a Man-Tear Moment.
Dean’s Man Tears: 7
We get some very sappy stuff about how Dean’s gonna pray for her and oh what a miracle that is, and then Layla leaves and we fade to black on more man tears.
Dean’s Man Tears: 7 8