14.10 Nihilism

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Title Nihilism
Episode # Season 14, Episode 10
First aired January 17, 2019
Directed by Amanda Tapping
Written by Steve Yockey
On IMDB Nihilism
Outline Sam and Castiel travel into Dean's mind to help him regain control from a captured Michael, while Jack and the hunters from Apocalypse World contend with Michael's monster army descending on the Bunker.
Monster Michael
Michael's Monsters
Timeline December 24-25, 2018
Location(s) Rocky's Bar
Kansas City, Missouri
Lebanon, Kansas
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Synopsis

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Searchin' for a Rainbow" by The Marshall Tucker Band
(playing in Rocky's Bar as Dean prepares the "house special" for Pamela)

Quotes

Michael: Now, this just feels right. Hope is an amazing thing, isn't it? You had no chance of winning this. None. But you had hope -- hope that I wouldn't see you coming, but I saw everything. And now I have my perfect vessel. I've just destroyed the one weapon that could really hurt me. Thanks for bringing that, by the way.
Sam: Where's Jessica?
Violet: Well, my name's Violet. It's my shift. We have shifts now, because you mess up so, so many things.
Michael: Yes, uh, put a chair against the door. That'll help. Nothing's changed. Either my monsters get here or I break these chains. But tonight everybody dies. And, Sam? The last thing you'll see is this pretty smile as I rip you apart.
Michael: Tell me. Why do you love this world enough to risk your own life?

Castiel: Tell me. Why do you hate this world enough to burn it to the ground?
Michael: Because I can. Because Me and my brother -- my Lucifer -- when we fought in my world, we thought that God would come back, give us answers -- why He'd gone, what we'd done -- but, instead, do you know what happened? Nothing. No God. Nothing. And now now that I'm in here -- now I know why. God -- Chuck -- is a writer, and like all writers, He churns out draft after draft. My world? This world? Nothing but failed drafts. And when He realizes that they're flawed, He moves on and tries again.
Castiel: No, that's not how Why would He do that?
Michael: Because He doesn't care! About you, me -- anything. Now, at first, I thought I'd do it better. Show Him. Be more God than God. But now I just want to burn every one of His little worlds until I catch up to the old man.
Castiel: And then what?

Michael: Even God can die.
Jack: Well, if it doesn't, maybe there's something I can do. The magic that's keeping me alive, what if I can do more?

Sam: And burn off your soul?
Jack: Not all of it.

Sam: Jack. Dean wouldn't want to be saved, not that way.
Sam: Dean thrives on trauma. I mean, he's had to his whole life, right? It keeps him alert, keeps him ready, but if I wanted to distract Dean, I-I I'd give him something he's never had before.

Castiel: Contentment.

Sam: Exactly. So maybe, instead of looking through his bad memories, maybe let's, uh maybe let's look through his good memories.
Michael: Well, this is fun.

Dean: Get out of my head.
Michael: You don't mean that, Dean, not really. You may lie to them, but, deep down, I know you. I am you. You only tolerate the angel because you think you owe him, because he 'gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition.' Or whatever. But since then, what has he done? Only made mistakes, one after the other. And, Sam -- oh, Sam You know, Dean was his happiest when you quit hunting, leaving him with your dad, just the two of them. See, deep down, he knows that you will always abandon him, again and again.
Dean: Shut up!

Michael: You don't need them. You don't even like them. They're not your family -- they're your responsibilities. They're a weight around your neck. And deep down, you wanted -- you were desperate to get away from them. And that is why you said yes.
Michael: You fellas didn't think this out, did you? Even if you could force me out, what do you think I'd leave behind, hm? You'd be nothing but blood and bone.
Dean: Then we don't kick him out. We keep him in. It'll hold. My mind, my rules. I got him. I'm the Cage.
Dean: You broke the rules.

Billie: I took a calculated risk. I warned you. About the dangers of jumping from world to world. But you ignored me, didn't you?

Dean: Rescuing Mom and Jack, helping out those other folks -- I'd say it was worth it.

Trivia & References

"Nihilism" is the belief that nothing in life matters, and everything is meaningless. It is also a reference to Michael's state of mind, since he believes that God has come to consider the Winchesters' world and Apocalypse World "failed drafts" and they are thus meaningless.
Dean's dream bar in his subconscious, "Rocky's Bar" contains many Easter eggs.
  • The name of the bar and the moose's head hanging on the wall are a reference to Crowley's nickname for Dean and Sam, which was Squirrel and Moose -- a reference to Rocky the squirrel and Bullwinkle the moose from the cartoon The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. In fact, "Moose" became so popular with Crowley that it spread to Jared, other cast members, and the fans. (See all its uses in canon here.)
  • There is also a stuffed squirrel wearing an aviator's cap and goggles as Rocky does in the cartoon behind the bar, holding a bottle of Margiekugel -- a beer created for the show that features regularly and is named for Production Designer Jerry Wanek's mother.
  • "Daphne Loves Fred" can be seen carved inside a heart on the bar in Rocky's. This is a reference to Daphne Blake and Fred Jones from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! who appeared in 13.16 Scoobynatural. Dean has a crush on Daphne and was frustrated by her affection for Fred.
  • The wooden monkey behind the bar originally lived on the corner of the bar at Harvelle's Roadhouse. In 2.02 Everybody Loves a Clown when the boys first visit the Roadhouse, Ash is passed out drunk on the pool table, referenced here with the vampire pretending to be passed out at the bar.
  • There is an Impala tribute behind the bar including two photos of the Impala and the KAZ 2Y5 license plate.
  • There is a "Texan Star" neon sign. Jensen grew up, and still lives, in Texas.
  • The bar also features other things Dean loves, including a cassette deck and a pool table.
  • There is a neon "Tom's Tequila" sign - a reference to director Thomas J. Wright.
Dean: I got this great IPA from Austin -- Cosmic Cowboy. You're gonna love it.
Cosmic Cowboy IPA, along with the other beers on tap -- Ghost White IPA and Fox Rye Lager -- are beers from Jensen's Family Business Beer Company located in Austin, Texas. The beer coasters also feature the Family Business Beer Co. logo.
Billie: And just look at you now. Do you remember visiting my reading room? The shelves and shelves of notebooks describing the ways you might die?

Dean: Yeah. Upbeat classics.
Billie: Well, its the funniest thing, but they've all been rewritten. They all end the same way now -- with the archangel Michael escaping your mind and using you as his vessel to burn down this world.
Dean: All of them?
Billie: All of them. Except one.

Billie revealing to Dean how his deaths have all been rewritten as the same thing -- Michael escaping and destroying the world -- except for one, is similar to Avengers: Infinity War, where Doctor Strange looks into fourteen million, six hundred and five possible outcomes against Thanos, all of which result in their defeat, except for one.

Minutiae

According to Michael, in Apocalypse World, they had "locked Death away and enslaved the reapers." He also reveals his belief that while there may be multiple universes, there is only one God.
Sam: Okay, listen. Back when Gadreel possessed me, he -- he created, uh, I don't know, like a -- like a fake world inside my head.

But Crowley was able to force his way in, he showed me how to take control, and I drove the angel out.

This refers to the events of 9.10 Road Trip. And much like Sam's dream world created by Gadreel, Sam is also working a ghoul case in Dean's mind, though we are unaware if it also involved cheerleaders.
Castiel: What is that?

Sam: It's the, uh, messed up British Men of Letters thing they used to get inside people's heads. I figure if I can get in, maybe I can wake Dean up, get him to fight, you know, to force Michael out.

The device Sam refers to is the same one Lady Antonia Bevell used to brainwash Mary Winchester and then to get Dean into her head in 12.22 Who We Are to save Mary.
While revisiting Dean's traumas, Dean can be heard yelling at Michael that they had a deal from 13.23 Let the Good Times Roll, his nightmare demonic self warning him that he would die and become a demon from 3.10 Dream a Little Dream of Me, and Dean screaming for help in Hell from 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked.
Dean experiences flashbacks of Pamela Barnes' eyes being burned out by Castiel from 4.01 Lazarus Rising and Pamela being killed by a demon from 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday. He also has flashbacks of Michael's actions from 14.01 Stranger in a Strange Land and 14.02 Gods and Monsters.
Sam: Poughkeepsie!

Dean: What'd you say?

In 9.10 Road Trip, when Crowley was trying to help free Sam from Gadreel, Dean told Crowley that "Poughkeepsie" is Sam and Dean's distress signal, meaning to drop everything and run. Crowley used it again to warn the boys in 9.21 King of the Damned
Billie reminds Dean of his visit to Death's Reading Room and their conversation in 13.05 Advanced Thanatology.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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