14.14 Ouroboros

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Title Ouroboros
Episode # Season 14, Episode 14
First aired March 7, 2019
Directed by Amyn Kaderali
Written by Steve Yockey
On IMDB Ouroboros
Outline Sam, Dean, Castiel, Jack, and Rowena track a flesh-eating demigod, but that turns out not to be their biggest threat.
Monster Gorgon
Michael (Apocalypse World)
Timeline
Location(s) Raton, New Mexico
Lebanon, Kansas
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Synopsis

In Ratan, New Mexico, a man is in a kitchen cooking. He walks over to a man laying on the counter, his chest propped open with wooden sticks. He pulls out the man's liver. The cook fries the liver in a pan of onions. Then he takes the man's eye out and eats it. His eyes turn green and slitted like a reptilian and he sees a vision of Sam and Dean coming into the house with their guns drawn. It is then that he tells his snake Felix it's time to go.

Dean and Sam come in exactly as the vision had shown, Castiel and Jack come in the kitchen and find all the pots cooking, everything burning. They find the corpse on the counter. They all can't believe he got away again. Jack wonders why none of them fought back. Rowena enters the room when Dean mentions witchcraft at fault, complaining that her tracking spell was supposed to make finding him easier; they have been chasing this man for weeks. Rowena claims success, seeing as how the man was just there and mentions the victim's black lips and blots at them with a handkerchief.

At the motel, Sam and Rowena are searching in books for answers of what they are dealing with. Rowena brings up that the last time she saw Jack he was on death's door. She asks what sort of magic saved him. Sam assures her Jack is okay and tells her not to worry. She also inquires as to how Dean is managing with Michael locked inside of his head. Sam says Dean is Dean, that he'll be fine. Rowena's worries are not allayed.

Castiel and Dean sit in a diner, talking. Dean squints his eyes while they are closed, seeing and hearing Michael inside his mind, trying to get out. Cas acknowledges that Dean needs a lot of will power to keep Michael imprisoned. While Jack is in the diner's bathroom, looking at himself in the mirror, he begins to cough violently, coughing up blood in the process. At the diner table, Dean tells a concerned Cas he doesn't know if he's fine, that he has this pounding in his head that never stops. Michael is in there and he is fighting hard to get out. He says he can't let his guard down, not for a second, but there's no point complaining about it, it's on him. Cas tells him it's on all of them, and that he wants to help. Jack is still in the bathroom, still coughing. He runs his fingers along his throat, tapping into the power of soul; they glow as he heals himself. Meanwhile, Dean reminds Cas that he agreed to give them time to find a solution. Although, Cas says they will find one, Dean reminds him of plan B, the Ma'lak Box on the ocean floor. Jack returns to the table. Cas asks if he's okay, and Jack tells him he is fine. Cas brings the conversation back to the killings. He thinks they have a ritualistic, religious quality. He muses that it could be just a deranged person who is getting lucky at evading capture. Jack says anyone who does something like that is a monster, even if they're human. Dean's phone rings -- Sam and Rowena have something.

Back at the motel, Sam tells them all they have made progress. Rowena thinks they are dealing with a gorgon, an ancient cursed being who loves snakes and hungers for human flesh. Dean says, "he's like Medusa." Rowena says that is the exaggerated version -- gorgons don't actually turn their victims to stone, but they do use venom to paralyze them, hence the black lips. Sam comes up with seventeen unexplained deaths that fit the pattern. In the last month he'd moved across the southern U.S. from Florida to New Mexico. Rowena says that legend has it that it has every few months the gorgon gorges itself, like a snake. She says he eats the eyes of his victims, which gives the gorgon the ability to see the future. Sam thinks that's how he can see them coming.

At a truck stop, the gorgon asks a truck driver for a ride. The driver is reluctant, but the gorgon says he is hungry and hints flirtatiously at ways he will pay the man back, and he convinces the driver to take him. Once inside the truck, the driver asks if he's ready to do anything. The gorgon kisses him on the mouth, then tells him that his poison is beginning to paralyze him. He apologetically notes that the numbing takes a little while to kick in, so the driver will feel everything he does to him. He then rips the man's eyes out and eats them, with Felix wrapped around his neck.

Later, at the truck stop parking lot, Dean and Cas approach an officer about the case. Dean asks if there was anything unusual that happened. The officer replies that the body had no eyes. There is a note on the body addressed to Dean, which reads, "Dean, I see you by yourself reading the note. I see you, the tall one and the red head chasing me. I will always see you. Stop or I will make you stop. Noah." Cas, who is standing next to Dean while he reads, notices that the gorgon doesn't mention him.

Back at the motel, Sam has his phone on speaker, talking to Maggie who says that decapitation via silver swords can kill a gorgon. Rowena doesn't like being on the gorgon's list. Dean mentions that he doesn't seem to see Cas or Jack in his visions -- apparently he can't see angels or Nephilim. Cas thinks if he and Jack approach him, it will surprise him. Dean tells Rowena to get her tracking spell ready. She also needs to make an antidote for the gorgon's poison, for which she needs anti-venom. Sam asks her how she will get the venom. She says she has a plan, looking at Jack.

Sam and Rowena enter a veterinarian's office, in a panic over their little dog that Sam is holding in his arms. They say the pup is very sick and needs medical attention, and argue over who is to blame. When the vet takes the dog from them she asks its name. "Jack," they reply. In the exam room, the doctor is just getting done taking the dog's temperature. She says she needs to get Mom and Dad to fill out some papers, then leaves the room. As soon as she's gone, the dog turns into Jack, who gets off the table to look for anti-venom. The doctor comes into the reception area saying the dog seems fine, just needs some blood work, but the room is empty. When she returns to the exam room, the dog is gone, as well. Jack comes out of a side door and meets Sam and Rowena. He shows them he got the anti-venom and says he wishes he had gotten it before the vet took his temperature. After he gets in the car,. Rowena confronts Sam about Jack. When she cast her spell on Jack, she felt the magic that's keeping him alive. She says it's volatile, stitched to him like a parasite. She is worried, but Sam brushes her off, saying that they are all being careful.

A man is tied up in a chair, strapped at his wrists and ankles. Noah kneels in front of him with his snake. The victim is quiet because they made a deal: no screaming, no noise, and he won't die like the others. Noah says that he doesn't like to eat humans, that sometimes fate is cruel and boring. When the victim asks if he only eats helpless men, Noah says that he does eat women too, however they've become more cautious in recent years, making it more difficult for him to feed. The victim begins to yell and the gorgon gets annoyed. He kisses the man on the cheek and he quiets down. Noah looks at Felix and says, let's see how this oven works. There is a knock at the door. Jack comes in from the back door and Cas emerges from the front. Jack tells him he is a monster, but Noah replies that he is a demi-god. He begins to tell Jack a story about a black snake and a chicken. The snake kept stealing the chicken's eggs, until there was only one left. He ate it and died because it was hard-boiled. Cas asks why he is telling the story. Noah says he doesn't know if Jack is the chicken or the snake. Castiel begins to fight him. His knife is thrown to the floor. Noah kisses Cas on the cheek, paralyzing him. Jack and Noah fight, then Sam and Dean enter the room and join the fight. The gorgon slams Dean's head into the wall twice and he falls to the floor, unconscious. Sam attacks, and the gorgon lays him out as well. Noah takes his backpack and starts to leave, but as he walks away a silver blade severs his head -- it's Jack. Jack kneels down by Cas, pulls a vial from his coat and gives him the antidote, but it doesn't work, so he uses his powers. When Cas comes to, he scolds Jack for healing him, but his attention is diverted when they realize that Dean isn't waking up.

The group races down the road in the Impala. When they arrive at the Bunker they carry Dean to a bed in the sickbay. Cas puts his fingers on Dean's forehead, but he can't see what is going on in his mind. Jack says he can help. Cas reminds him he can't burn any more of his soul away. He puts his head low and walks away. Rowena enters, hearing how Jack is using his soul to stay alive, and they discuss Dean, and wonder if the gorgon did something to him before he got injured. Sam asks Rowena what he should do, and she says to clean his wounds and make him comfortable. Dean begins to wake. We see the room where Michael was being held inside Dean's mind. It's empty.

Cas finds Jack in his room, with Noah's snake, Felix, in a plastic container. He says he can't stand to see Dean like that, but Cas reminds him that every time they go out there is a risk. Jack says he can't think about losing any of them. He hates thinking about it. Cas reminds him that Sam and Dean are extremely brave humans, but humans nonetheless -- their life spans are short. Eventually, they will be gone and Jack and Cas will have to go on without them. Jack asks what's the point of being a cosmic being if everything he cares about dies and leaves. Cas tells him that the pain you feel when someone is gone is a reminder of how much you loved them, and that when Dean wakes they will need to appreciate the time they have together. Jack insists on using his powers to help, but Cas won't allow it. Jack wonders why he even has these powers if he can't use them. Cas changes the subject and asks if he's keeping the snake. Jack says the gorgon can see people's fates and wonders why he saw Jack in the story of the chicken and the snake. Cas tries to brush it off as a story about greed, but also about giving up something you love in order to kill the thing you hate. They hear a noise.

Dean is tearing the sickbay apart. They try to calm him down, but he yells that he doesn't know where Michael is. Suddenly, he realizes that Michael is gone. Dean blames himself for letting his guard down, and says they should have let him go in the coffin in the sea. A scream comes from somewhere in the Bunker -- it's Maggie. They watch her get her eyes burned out as she runs towards them. She is dead and so is everyone else -- bodies with their throats cut all over the floor and table. Rowena enters the room, her eyes blue -- she is possessed by Michael. Castiel gets his angel blade ready. Sam says she wouldn't have let him in. Michael tells him that she didn't want to, but he threatened her, said he'd get another vessel and kill everyone in the building that she cares about if she didn't say yes. Now that he's free, though, he has no intention of keeping his promise. Dean tells Sam to use the cuffs, but Michael raises his hand and they fly through the air onto the floor, except for Jack, who stays standing. Michael tells them they can't breathe, and they all gasp for air, except Jack, again. With a snap of his fingers they are blind, then writhing in pain, but Jack remains unaffected. He sends a ball of energy at Michael and asks him to let them go. They trade volleys of energy, then Michael tells Jack, "I am the commander of the Host! I am the cleanser of worlds! I will not be challenged by a child!" Jack replies, "I'm not a child! I'm the son of Lucifer. I'm a Hunter. I am a Winchester!". As Castiel screams "Jack, no!" he grabs Rowena's head and forcibly expels Michael. With Michael's essence swirling above him, Jack burns him away and consumes his grace. Dean calls after Jack, who replies that Michael is dead. Jack's eyes light up gold and he spreads his wings. His original Nephilim powers have been restored.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Yéyé St-Tropez" by Claire Marcelle
(playing in Dennis Barron's home as Noah prepares his dinner)

Quotes

Dean: Yeah. Who would just let themselves be eaten? Hey, I'll say it again. My money's on witchcraft.

Rowena: Och, you. Always blaming witches.

Dean: 'Cause a lot of times it's witches.
Rowena: Speaking of which, I'm also curious as to how your brother is managing to keep an archangel locked away inside his mind.
Sam: Because... he's Dean. And Dean is Dean. He's fine.
Dean: 'Dean, I see you standing alone by the truck reading this note. I see you and the tall man and the red-headed witch chasing me. I will always see you. Stop, or I will make you stop. Regards, Noah.' I'm on a first-name basis with some psycho pen pal. That's aces.

Castiel: Somehow he knows you. But you're not standing alone. Why doesn't he mention me?

Dean: Maybe you're not his type.
Rowena: What did you do to that boy? When I cast the transformation spell, I felt something else pushing back, some other thing inside him. It's volatile magic, powerful, and it's stitched to him like some kind of parasite. I was curious before, but now I am worried, so I'll ask you again, Sam. What did you do?

Sam: Okay, listen. Jack's being careful. We're all being careful. That's all you need to know.
Rowena: Fine. Don't tell me. But using dangerous, mysterious magic, regardless of the cost, that's a very on-brand me thing to do.
Sam: Well, thank you.

Rowena: Of course, Samuel. Until very recently, I was the villain.
Victim: You're just preying on -- on helpless men?
Noah: 'Helpless men' -- that's rich. No, I do eat ladies, too, but women have become so cautious lately. Must be all that finally waking up from centuries of misogynistic oppression. Good for them. Bad for you. It's so bad for him, isn't it, Felix?
Castiel: But, Jack... you know, Sam and Dean, they're human, and they're very extraordinary, brave, special humans, but they're -- they're still humans. And humans burn bright, but for a very brief time compared to, you know, things like us. And eventually, they're gone, even the very best ones, and we have to carry on. It's just -- It's part of growing up.
Jack: What's the point of being a cosmic being if everyone I care about is just gonna... leave?

Castiel: The point is that they were here at all and you got to know them, you -- When they're gone, it will hurt, but that hurt will remind you of how much you loved them.
Jack: That sounds... awful.

Castiel: It is. But it's also living. So when Dean wakes up -- and he will wake up -- we just have to remember to appreciate the time that we all have together now.
Michael: That's not very nice. And if we're not being nice, what if... you couldn't breathe? That's a terrible feeling, isn't it? What if you were also blind?

Dean: Sam.

Michael: And what if you just hurt? But... fun as this is, I think... no more games. This time, you all die. This time, the world burns.
Michael: How dare you! Burning off your soul? You'll run out soon enough.

Jack: It's worth the cost.
Michael: I should have killed you when I had the chance.
Jack: I feel the same.
Michael: I am the commander of the host! I am the cleanser of worlds! I will not be challenged by a child!

Jack: I'm not a child! I'm the son of Lucifer. I'm a hunter! I am a Winchester!
Jack: I'm me again.

Trivia & References

The Ouroboros is an ancient Egyptian symbol depicting a snake eating its own tail. It was adopted by the Greeks and most famously used in alchemy.
Sam: I mean, no pictures in his phone. And this place doesn't exactly scream 'snake guy.'

Rowena: Not enough Pantera posters, for one.

Pantera was a American heavy metal band.
Dean: Okay, so, what? This guy's some real Houdini?
Harry Houdini was a famous magician and escape artist.
Castiel: Okay, um... these killings -- it seems like there's a ritualistic quality to the crime scenes, right? It's almost liturgical. It means religious.
Liturgical refers to the rituals and performance of public worship.
Rowena: I believe we are hunting a gorgon, an ancient cursed being with an affinity for snakes and a hunger for human flesh.

Dean: Snakes for hair? That's like Medusa.
Rowena: You know about Medusa?
Dean: Oh, yeah. Clash of the Titans? Turns guys to stone?

In Greek mythology a gorgon was a creature whose gaze could turn a person to stone. The most well known are the three sisters -- Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale -- who had live snakes for hair, and who would turn any person who looked on them to stone. There are two movies called Clash of the Titans, both of which tell the story of Perseus and his battles against gods and monsters. Dean has possibly seen both the 1981 version of the movie and the 2010 version. Dean later makes another reference to Clash of the Titans when he mentions things coming out of Medusa when she was killed.
Rowena: Hence, the blackened lips.

Castiel: And the fact that the victims didn't fight back.
Rowena: And the snakeskin which, frankly, was a bit on the nose.

The phrase "on the nose" in this context is a term of criticism used in reference to a piece of art that lacks subtext or nuance, one that is too direct or unsubtle.
Dean and Castiel use the aliases "Page" and "Jones" for their FBI covers, referring to Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin.
The dog Rowena transforms Jack into is a Brussels Griffon breed.
Rowena: Yeah, well, assuming you're not all paralyzed or eaten... off with his head.
"Off with his head" is a common phrase associated with decapitation, most famously uttered by the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Noah's story of the black snake and the chicken is an African folktale from Liberia known as "Black Snake and the Eggs." You can read it here.

Minutiae

This episode marks Jensen Ackles' 300th appearance on Supernatural as Dean Winchester.
While not fully named in the episode, promotional material lists the gorgon Noah's surname as "Ophis." Ophis is the Greek word for serpent.
Dean, Castiel, and Jack have coffee at a Mexican restaurant called El Sabrosa.
When Dean and Castiel are talking to the police officer, Castiel holds his badge upside down, referencing the episode 5.03 Free to Be You and Me where Castiel and Dean pose as FBI agents and Castiel initially holds his badge upside down before Dean corrects it.
Continuity Error: While reading the note that Noah left him, Dean says, "I see you standing alone by the truck reading this note." However, the actual note does not contain the word "alone."
This episode marks a rare occasion where Castiel is armed with a weapon other than his angel blade on a hunt. Like the Winchesters and Jack, he wields a silver machete when fighting Noah.
It's shown that consenting to becoming a vessel does not need to be done verbally. Rowena gave Michael the needed permission simply by nodding her head. In the past, consent has always been given out loud.
Michael reneged on the deal he made with Rowena to be his vessel, just as he had done with Dean in 13.23 Let the Good Times Roll.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion