Hope — in addition to a strong brotherly bond and sense of what’s right — is one of the main things that sustains the Winchesters. When you look back on the series, it’s what has kept them going through their apocalyptically messy lives. Why else would they keep fighting? They hope defeating the next big bad will help make the world better. Unfortunately, this season they’re facing a big bad who knows everything about them, and in tonight’s episode, he sets his sights on ridding Sam of hope.
“The Trap” opens with Sam chained to a chair in a casino. Eileen is there, too. Oh, and so is Chuck, who reveals that he’s been toying with the boys in ways they hadn’t realized. Specifically, he gave them the spell that resurrected Eileen so that he could have eyes on the boys since he could no longer see them in his weakened state. But now he has Sam where he needs him and plans on getting rid of their bullet-wound connection. And he’s going to do it in the cruelest way possible: Using his powers to make Eileen poke around Sam’s chest with a scalpel.
While I haven’t been super hot on this season as a whole so far, I have loved Rob Benedict’s performance as Chuck. He’s done a good job of bridging the gap between the Chuck we met way back when and the petty, mean God we now know him to be. Not only that, but he’s added a scary and sadistic edge to his performance. It was genuinely unsettling watching him force Eileen to cut into Sam.
When Eileen fails to cut out whatever is keeping Sam and Chuck connected, Chuck has an epiphany: Sam still has hope that they can win, and that’s the problem. So Chuck proceeds to rip away that hope by showing Sam what the future looks like if the Winchesters actually succeed in trapping him. And what he shows them is bleak. Essentially, the monsters rise because the law of nature takes over when God’s not there. Sam wants to keep fighting because he has a death wish after losing Eileen and everyone they love, but Dean wants to give up. He’s lost hope and the will to fight in the wake of all of the monsters and having to lock a Cas, who took the Mark of Cain, away in a Malak box. Unfortunately, the brothers don’t get out of the game. Instead, they end up being turned into vampires and ganked by Jodie and Bobby. (What a terrible way to go!)
While Chuck tortures Sam with visions of the future, Dean and Castiel venture into Purgatory to find the Leviathan blossom for the spell that will trap God. Of course, there’s still tension between them (Dean is angry and Cas is angry that he’s angry). Eventually, they come across a Leviathan, who reveals that the blossom they seek grows from the corpse of a Leviathan and there’s a field covered with them. So, the duo follows the piranha mouth to the field. Unfortunately, the field is surrounded by an angel trap specifically for Castiel because Eve wants revenge for what he did to all the Alphas and Leviathan in seasons 6 and 7. (Having just re-watched seasons 6 and 7, I loved this callback.) The Leviathan knock Dean out and carry Castiel away.
When Dean comes to, Castiel is nowhere to be found. With only 26 minutes left before the rift closes and they’re stuck there forever, Dean takes off looking for Cas. Desperate, Dean decides to pray to Cas. Not only that, but he actually apologizes for everything that went down, and spoiler alert: Jensen Ackles acts the hell (purgatory?) out of Dean’s monologue. “I should’ve stopped you. You’re my best friend but I just let you go cause that was easier than admitting I was wrong,” he says. “I don’t know why I get so angry. I just know it’s always been there and when things go bad, it comes out and I can’t stop it no matter how bad I want to, I just can’t stop it. Of course, I forgive you.” Moments of raw, emotional honesty like this are so powerful, especially on a show that drums up so much drama from lies and characters not saying what they need to say.
Dean eventually does find a bloody Cas leaning up against a tree. Apparently, Cas went with the Leviathan until he had a chance to grab a blossom and then he fought his way back. Oh, and he heard Dean’s prayer. While having Cas explain how he escaped instead of showing it is kind of lame, I like it that it keeps the focus on Dean’s heartfelt apology to his best friend. Anyway with the blossom acquired, Dean and Cas return to the bunker and finish the spell, which yields an orb. Cas says he’s going to take the mark this time since Dean can’t do it, and that one of them will have to break the orb.
Back at the casino, Chuck taunts Sam with everything he just saw in the future and confirms that it’s actually real. What I found interesting about this scene is how Chuck compares them to Prometheus because of how defiant they are. For my money, I think Sam and Dean are more Sisyphean. Every day they push the bolder back up (read: kill monsters, stop the apocalypse, fight Leviathan, whatever) only for it to roll right back down to the bottom of the hill (read: the apocalypse starting again, the Darkness being released, or what have you). Maybe, it’s a combination of both. Who knows? I digress.
Dean and Cas show up at the casino. Dean hilariously punches Chuck, who responds by punching back way harder. Cas rolls the orb to Sam to break, but Sam doesn’t do it because Chuck’s succeeding in crushing his hope, which, in turn, heals both of their wounds. A newly healed Chuck is a gleeful Chuck. In fact, he reveals that all of Sam’s visions weren’t of Chuck’s drafts for the end of the story; Sam was seeing how the stories of Sam and Dean ended on alternate Earths. Dean, defiant as ever, says they’ll never give him the ending he wants as Chuck blips out of there.
In the wake of all this drama, Eileen decides to leave them, which leads to Sam giving her a very passionate goodbye kiss. (When’s the last time Sam kissed someone on this show?) Then, Sam tells Dean and Cas that he believed the futures Chuck showed him. That’s enough for Dean. So Dean says they just need to find another way to fix this problem. Meanwhile, Billy comes to Jack in the Empty and says, “It’s time.” Oh yeaaaaahhh, it’s Jack time, baby!