Shortly after the events of last week’s episode, Sam frantically calls Dean and tells him he’s just found out that he’s Lucifer’s vessel. Dean’s none too thrilled with the idea of joining up again and more or less repeats his speech from the end of “Shadow” about Winchesters being weak when they’re together. And then he hangs up on Sam. Nice attempt at a parallel, but I’m not sure if I’m buying it. Because there was that one time that Dean left Sam on his own (yes, I understand he was in Hell) and Sam got wrangled by a demon and hooked on blood and started the Apocalypse. Remember, boys? Oh, yes. You’re definitely better off alone.
Focus, Julia! Recap. So the next morning, Dean wakes up in 2014 and OMG it really IS apocalypse now! The Croatoan virus (Remember that? Oh, yeah. It was, like, three seasons ago. Nice to see you finally remembered that episode, writers.) proliferated and demonic zombies are roaming the trash-riddled streets. The US military has the contaminated zones in lockdown. Oh, and Sarah Palin is President. (Auuuugh.) Zachariah’s the one responsible for Dean’s time travel. He wants Dean to re-evaluate his decision not to allow Michael to use his meatsuit. After going to Bobby’s house (Bobby’s apparently dead), Dean finds clues that lead him to Camp Chautauqua, one of the survivor colonies. He encounters a bombed-out Impala and… himself! I do declare, Future Dean is one hawt zombie war survivor. After some initial suspicion and back-and-forth banter, Future Dean leaves 2009 Dean cuffed to a ladder so he doesn’t get into any trouble. Never foiled by handcuffs, Dean picks his way out with a nail. Nice callback to the Pilot. Wandering around the camp, he encounters Chuck, Risa (Or ‘Lisa’? I couldn’t tell… either way, she’s a survivor who he’s been gettin’ awwwwwn with. She’s kind of awesome) and Castiel, who’s turned into an orgy-loving, pot-smoking hippie. He’s lost his angelic powers and went mortal. Whoops? More interestingly, though, Future Dean gets his hands on the Colt and plans on killing Lucifer with it. Do you see where this is going? Oh, yes.
See, Sam’s still around. He said yes to Lucifer. And Future Dean is taking 2009 Dean to see him so he can give him the opportunity to do it over again — to let Michael use him as a vessel. Because that’s the only way to save the world. So Future Dean, 2009 Dean, Castiel, Risa, and one other dude launch an assault on the mental institution (hee) where Sam-Lucifer’s hanging out. 2009 Dean protests when he figures out that Future Dean is using everyone else as decoys. So Future Dean punches him in the face and proceeds with the ambush on his own. Cold, dude. 2009 Dean wakes up and runs into the sanitarium’s graveyard just as Lucifer-Sam (Now with New and Improved Snazzy White Suit Outfit! Tie not included.) snaps Future Dean’s neck with his foot. Actually, I’m bummed that we only saw the tail end of the Epic Not!Brother v. Brother battle. But from a point of view standpoint, that was the only way it’d work. Lucifer-Sam refuses to kill 2009 Dean and instead monologues about his love of God. I hate to say this, because I know he’s trying, but I think Padalecki was having an off day. It’s like Mark Pelligrino as Lucifer as Sam instead of Lucifer as Sam, if that makes any sense. It could just be the way the dialog’s put together. Dean calls him a “supernatural piece of crap” and tells he’s going to hunt him down. Lucifer-Sam counters that no matter what Dean does, he will always end up there, in this graveyard with his neck snapped. Lucifer wins.
And then Zachariah zaps him back to 2009. Zachariah makes one final plea for Dean to give himself over to Michael before Lucifer gets to Sam, but Dean can’t do it. Castiel whisks Dean away right before Zachariah can go all psycho-stomach-cancer-crazy on Dean again. Dean calls Sam and they reunite on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and awwww, boys! Took you long enough. Dean offers Ruby’s knife to Sam and he accepts as Dean apologizes. “We’re all we’ve got,” Dean says, “We’re more than that. We keep each other human.” Sam promises he won’t let Dean down and asks what they do next. “We make our own future,” Dean says. “I guess we have no choice,” Sam responds and DUN DUN DUN. Those are a couple of loaded lines.