Here’s the plan: don’t die.
That’s Dean’s advice to Sam as they get ready to take down whatever it is they’ve been staking out: don’t die.
I’m pretty sure, given Dean’s inability to cope with negative, or positive for that matter, situations he means it.
The Winchesters are in hot pursuit, splitting up on foot to get the bad guy. Dean heads down the alley just in time to see a shadowy figure (Not literally. I know the show is Supernatural and there could be a shadow monster, but I’m just being descriptive here.) attacking someone with red light. Dean, ever the hero, charges forward. Sam runs up just in time to see the figure, Dean and the red light disappear.
2 days prior…
The boys seem to be in downtime research mode. By that I mean, Sam is sleeping and Dean is obsessively Google-stalking Dick Roman on his laptop. Sam is jolted awake by his phone ringing; the lovely Sheriff Jody Mills is on the line with a job for them. Something is sucking the life out of things, leaving nothing but mummified husks. Second one in recent time in the area she’s snooping around outside of her jurisdiction in. Sam is slightly relieved to have a case, because he’s not pleased with Dean’s constant web surfing for Dick, he was happier when Dean was creepily watching free streaming hentai. (No offense to anyone who creepily watches Japanese anime tentacle porn, free or paid… According to Dean Winchester, it’s art.)
The boys roll up to a nasty, condemned house in Canton, Ohio. They rock, paper, scissors for the lesser of two disgusting rooms. Dean loses. There are two very good questions that this moment poses: 1) Why didn’t they just share the less gross room? and 2) How does paper beat rock? Hold up a piece of paper in front of your face. Now, let someone throw a rock at you. How much protection did that paper offer your head?
No time to debate these deep thoughts, the Winchesters are suited up and out for info. First stop, the last person to see the most recent victim, Durbin, alive. The man they question is of course shocked that Mr. and Mr. Smith, no relation, no marriage, believe him. The other members of law enforcement mocked his crazy-sounding stoner story, but these agents aren’t laughing. He tells them about seeing a man dressed like he’s about to bust out “What Goes Around” and possibly white boy beat box.
Side note: Sam Winchester catching a Justin Timberlake reference is my happy place. Remember back in “Born Under a Bad Sign” when Dean acknowledged that Timberlake is quite the triple threat? What I’m saying is, the Winchesters may be out of touch on a lot, but they know what’s important.
Anyway, the witness says a glowing red energy passed between the Timberlake wannabe (often imitated, never duplicated) and Durbin, then he watched as Durbin aged to death before his eyes. Sam and Dean take mental notes and head back to their squat to research. Sam finds that this kind of thing happens habitually in the town without much of a pattern, so Dean uses some fancy hacker moves that Frank Devereaux schooled him on and ta-da, instant virtual voyeuristic stake-out of the area and they finally have a connection, the man in the fedora shows up in decades old newspapers and on the hacker feed, but hasn’t aged at all. After some additional intel they find out where the mysterious man who doesn’t age lives. No, no, no, not Jared Leto. Turns out this Fountain of Youth sipper’s name is Ethan Snider.
We cut to a scene of the guys sitting and staking. Ethan’s on the move. Sam wants to know what the plan is. Here’s the plan: don’t die.
Oh… I see what you did there Supernatural.
We’re back where we started the episode, with the shadowy hipster hat guy/red light/Dean disappearing act.
The two men materialize in what seems to be the same alley only slightly more sepia toned. Dean runs after Snider, gun waving in the air and is immediately stopped by the cops, cops who happen to be driving a car that makes the Impala look like a newborn baby. They haul Dean in and an officer starts interrogating him, baffled by his weaponry and cell phone. He’s also making racially slurred allusions to Dean being a communist. Oh and mocking Dean for having an FBI badge that’s dated 68 years in the future. Dean quickly does the math.
To take one breath in 2012 and the next in 1944 is a strange way to start a new life…
Suddenly, the interrogation room door opens and an imposing man in a damn fine suit tells the officer to go spend a penny. The man asks Dean for his story and Dean figures he’s got nothing to lose, no matter what he says it’s going to come out a bit Fisher King, so he goes with the truth. The well-dressed man sits across from Dean, unaffected, and demands details. Dean catches on quick, this man is a dapper 1940s hunter. Dean is pleased to meet him and introduces himself. The man does the same. Dean Winchester, meet Eliot Ness.
I have to pause for a moment here. THIS is why I love this show. The episode is set in Ohio! And Eliot freaking Ness is a hunter! Genius. And on a personal level, I’m ecstatic. I love The Untouchables! What? Oh… you do too, Dean? Oh. No, no, you go ahead and gush, it’s fine.
Dean is fanboying Eliot Ness. Ness is not overly impressed, but finds Dean competent enough to partner up with. You know what that means; Pretty Woman is getting a makeover. Dean’s looking mighty spiffy in his new ‘40s garb. He even gets his own fedora to perch over his Jimmy Stewart hair.
Back in 2012, Sheriff Mills rings up Sam to see how the case is going. She gathers from the fact that Sam answered the phone with a panicked, “Dean?” that it’s not going as well as it could be. It must be pretty bad if Sam isn’t even bothering to read his caller ID. She offers her help. She and Sam pour over what little info they have and stumble across an interesting accessory Ethan Snider is wearing in a photograph. It’s a ring with an Infinite Hourglass etched on it. You can tell it’s infinite because it looks like an infinity symbol.
In 1944, Ness and Dean, along with resident shopkeeper and Bobby stand-in, Ezra Moore are on the same track.
The Infinite Hourglass is the mark of the god Chronos.
Sam explains to Jody that gods are less powerful than they used to be because they lack the following and devout worship of times past. However, they make up for it in ritual sacrifices. Sometimes with pie.
Chronos controls time. Fascinating god, Chronos. The only psychopath in the universe to kill you with red light and time. He just zaps you into the past and lets you live to death. The rest of your life used up and blown away in the blink of an eye. You die in the past. All your stolen moments. He’s a god of the abstract.
Back in 1944, Dean is doing his best Sean Connery, and harkening to Ness’ Illinois roots. Because that’s the Chicago way. Ness and Moore are perplexed by Dean’s reference. Dean is disappointed in the inaccuracy of The Untouchables. Here’s a lesson for you Dean: There is no Shermer in Illinois. Movies are fucking bullshit.
Dean and Eliot Ness (I love typing that) head to Snider’s house and toss the joint. They find Snider’s source of income; he’s a betting man. A cheating one, placing bets on races he already knows the outcome of. Because he’s the god of time. I’m fairly certain I’d do something similar. They haul in his bookie, Lester Young, and play a little good cop/bad cop. Ness is the good cop. I’d like to make a joke or witty reference about Ness giving Dean a war vet back story and Dean having WWII Nazi flashbacks, but, um… I’m too busy admiring Dean being menacing in a vest and leather holster. Did I mention the Jimmy Stewart side part?
Okay, I’m back.
Sam and Jody figure out how to bring Dean back and it’s… complicated. They have to summon Chronos while Chronos is in physical contact with Dean. In 1944. Where they are not and Dean is. Very complicated.
Back in the above-mentioned 1944, Ethan Snider is telling his lovely dame, Lila Taylor, to pack a bag and trust him. She warily does. Meanwhile, Dean finds the house that in 2012 is his and Sam’s dilapidated squat, but in 1944 was a fine home. He knocks on the door and introduces himself as Agent Costner with the Department of Homeland Termite Invasion.
Agent Costner, huh? Okay, Dean, I get it. No one loves The Untouchables as much as you do. You may have The Untouchables crown. I’ll buy you a DVD to replace your obviously more worn out than my family’s VHS tape.
Dean heads up the stairs, shoves the bed aside, throws a pillow on the floor where Sam set up camp in the same room 68 years later and brilliantly leaves a note in the wall for Sam with Sam’s name carved into the molding. People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big bowl of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey… stuff.
It works. Jody sends Sam off to bed because he’s running on fumes, as Sam fights for comfort on the floor he sees his name scratched into the wood and discovers the note. The note brings him and Jody up to speed and they head to the nursing home where a slightly senile Lila resides. She’s trying to get the Ed Sullivan show to come on, because the Alzheimer’s isn’t letting her mind process time correctly.
Again, Supernatural, I see what you did there.
Lila does recall the last time she saw Ethan, though. According to her he said he’d done horrible things then choked a man in front of her. She said that same night, right as this happened, all the clocks in her house stopped at 11:34. They show Lila a picture of Dean and, yup, you guessed it, that’s the man she watched Ethan choke. Now Sam and Jody have a time they can use to summon Chronos.
Time is aligning. In 1944, Dean and Ness are confronting Snider about his actions. While Ness holds Lila at gunpoint to keep Snider at bay, Snider confesses to everything, to killing, to not being human and to doing it all for love, for Lila.
For the record, and much to my relief, she’s not swooning.
In 2012, Sam and Jody are beginning their summoning ritual. Write the time down, light the fire, chant the chant.
1944, Chronos attacks Dean.
2012, spell successful. Dean, Chronos, Sam and Jody are all in the same room on the same timeline.
There’s a struggle. Their lives depend on this: don’t blink, don’t even blink. Chronos is fast, faster than you can believe. But Sam Winchester is faster and stakes him through the heart.
As Chronos dies he laughs at them. He can see their future and it’s dark, dark as black ooze covering everything. The Leviathan are everywhere.
Thank you to any and everyone who sat through this recap. Or as I like to refer to it “Vinnie’s Doctor Who ‘Blink’ Bingo”.