14.08 Byzantium

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SPN-1408 light.jpg
Title Byzantium
Episode # Season 14, Episode 8
First aired December 6, 2018
Directed by Eduardo Sanchez
Written by Meredith Glynn
On IMDB Byzantium
Outline Desperate to save Jack, Sam calls Lily Sunder, who has a solution which involves a dangerous trip to Heaven for Castiel, who runs into an old adversary.
Monster Cosmic Entity
Timeline Immediately following 14.07 Unhuman Nature
Location(s) Lebanon, Kansas
Heaven
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Synopsis

Jack is sick in his bed, as Dean stands gripping an antique record player with frustration, Sam sits teary-eyed next to Jack's bed, and Castiel stands, not knowing what to do. Suddenly Jack sits up, coughing and requiring oxygen. Dean storms out and Cas goes to tell him that Jack needs him. When they both re-enter Sam tells them that he has died. All three of them are distraught. Cas tries to go after Sam to comfort him but Dean says to give him his space so he does. Dean calls Mary to let her know about Jack, leaving a message on her voicemail to call him back. Some moments later, Dean asks Castiel where Sam is, and is told Sam left the Bunker. They race after him and soon find him crumpled against the Impala, distraught. When Dean exits the car, he immediately questions if Sam made a deal, a confused Sam tells Dean he had tried to make a pyre but the axe broke and tells him he feels like he should have done more. They speak about how wrong it all is and decide on Dean's suggestion to get drunk. Sam, Dean, and Castiel sit in the Bunker drinking whisky, sharing memories of Jack, and eating nougat. After a lot of whisky Sam gets up and leaves as does Cas leaving Dean alone who gives one last toast to Jack wherever he is.

Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Jack are together on a sunny day at Skippers Beach cafe eating burgers and trying to read a map on their road trip to Dodge City. Dean’s image suddenly flickers, as does the sky. Jack, realizing something is wrong, suddenly finds himself in Heaven running from rapidly advancing black ooze.

In the Bunker kitchen Dean wakes up spread across the table, hung over amongst empty whiskey bottles. He hears voices and staggers into the map room to find Sam and Cas with an aged Lily Sunder. Sam explains that he called her for help. Dean, ever skeptical, is eventually convinced by Sam to let her stay. Lily is given Kevin's translation of the angel tablet in hopes of being able to read it, but is unable to, causing Dean to dismiss her. She says that she is dying and so offers to save Jack with her magic by using some of his soul to power his body. She offers to give them the spell needed in return for entrance to Heaven when she dies. Dean is against the idea but is convinced by Sam and Cas, who tell him Jack should decide.

Castiel reveals to everyone that neither Death nor her reapers actually decide where a person goes when they die. He tells them that when God initially left, Heaven sought out the Egyptian god Anubis to work with Heaven and become the new judge in God's absence, and it is he who ultimately decides where a person will end up.

In a lush green garden, a young girl is playing fetch with her dog, when Jack wanders in. when she asks him who he is, Jack tells Kelly that he is her son Jack, causing Kelly to change from a child to adult. The two hug and he tells her she is in Heaven, which causes Kelly to realize that he is dead also, but Jack assures her that everyone did their best to care for him, but things didn't go as planned.

Back at the Bunker Dean is still skeptical of Lily, but Sam is prepared to try anything. Castiel arrives, saying there is an emergency in Heaven and he has to leave immediately. Sam tells him to go and that they will pray to him when they are ready. As Sam goes to retrieve an item for the summoning ritual, Dean attempts to apologize to Lily, and gets her to explain that with the sliver of her soul remaining, she wants to go to Heaven to be with her daughter, May.

In Heaven Castiel finds an angel, Zuriel, dead, evidence of black ooze, and Dumah barely alive. Telling her he needs to find Jack, the two find themselves back at Skippers Café in Jack's Heaven, where Naomi appears. She explains that the black ooze is "the shadow" from the Empty, come for Jack due to him being half-angel. Naomi tells them she wants to give Jack to the Empty to save Heaven and the billions of souls but Castiel refuses. As she gets overtaken by the Entity, she tells Castiel and Dumah to run.

Back at the Bunker, Anubis has been summoned. Although it is against the rules, he allows Lily to learn where she will go when she dies. He places her hand on an abacus with black and white discs. Unfortunately, the result is that she is destined for Hell. Sam urges him to change it, telling Anubis he has been trapped with with palm oil and they won't release him until he lets Lily into Heaven. Anubis says that he doesn't decide who goes where, and neither does God -- people do, with their individual choices over their lifetime. He warns that keeping him trapped won't change Lily's fate, but may alter Sam and Dean's final destination, and they let him go.

Jack and Kelly are in her house in Heaven when they hear Castiel. Jack opens the door and Cas gives him a huge hug. He turns to Kelly and hugs her, apologizing for not having saved Jack. Cas quickly explains the plan to Jack, telling him that the Empty will leave Heaven if Jack is still alive. In that moment Dumah enters the house, revealing she has been possessed by the Entity.

As Lily prepares to leave, Dean implores her to keep her end of the deal to help save Jack, and not make them suffer as she did losing May.

Castiel attempts to attack the possessed Dumah, but is easily swatted away and beaten down. When Kelly tries to defend him, she too is cast aside and knocked out.

Back in the Bunker, Jack's body is laid on the table surrounded by candles. Everything is ready. Dean prays to Castiel and we see Cas receive the prayer, his eyes rolling back in his head for a second. Lily begins the spell as Jack, rushing to save Castiel, is grabbed and strangled by the Entity. Desperate to save Jack, Castiel offers himself to be taken to the Empty in Jack's stead. When it says that he is already his, Castiel reminds it that that may be years or even eons away. Instead he will go willingly now. The entity agrees to Castiel's deal, but changes the terms, telling Castiel it won't take him now, but wants to make him suffer, telling him it will come and get him when he finally allows himself to experience happiness. Castiel accepts and the entity departs Dumah's body, leaving her shaken and confused on the floor. Castiel tells Jack that he and Sam and Dean love him and are fighting for him in that precise moment. He tells Jack that he is at peace with his choice and that he doesn't want Sam and Dean to worry, and asks him not to tell them of the deal. Jack and Kelly say a tearful goodbye as Castiel puts his hands either side of Jack's face, illuminating everything as he resurrects Jack.

Back at the Bunker Jack suddenly wakes up, coughing. Sam thrusts the spell into his hands, telling him to read it. After doing so, his eyes shine gold. He says he feels good. Dean hugs him and as the boys turn to thank Lily, they find her slumped in a chair, dead.

Lily is in an old accountant's office with Anubis. Anubis urges her to try once again with the abacus. Placing her hand on it, her tally comes up on the light end and she is granted entrance into Heaven. Before she goes, Anubis asks her if she knew what doing the spell for Jack would cost her. Seeing that she did, Anubis tells Lily to say hello to her daughter for him.

As Castiel leaves Kelly's Heaven, he meets Naomi in Heaven's corridor. She thanks him for his sacrifices and as a reward tells him where Michael is.

In the Bunker's kitchen, Cas, Sam, Dean, and Jack celebrate with beer and burgers, happy that Jack is back, now knowing where Michael is and everything seems hopeful.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Please Call Home" by The Allman Brothers Band
(playing as Sam, Dean and Castiel drink to Jack's memory)

Quotes

Jack: Please don't be sad. Maybe -- Maybe this is how things are supposed to be.
Dean: Don't give me that 'meant to be' crap. This isn't part of some damn plan.
Dean: Hey, Mom, it's me. Sorry to lay this on your voicemail, but, uh... it's Jack. He... He got sick, um, and he, uh -- h-he died... this morning. I would have called you sooner, but, um, it -- it happened so fast. And we thought we could fix it, you know like always. Anyway, Mom, I'm sorry. I know how much he meant to you and, uh, to all of us. Anyway, to tell you the truth, it would really be nice to hear your voice. If you could, uh, just call us back.
Dean: Tell me you didn't make a deal.

Sam: A deal? What? No! I was trying to build a pyre. I couldn't even do that for him. I should've done more.
Dean: Sam --
Sam: I should have tried harder. You know, I mean, everything we got -- the spells, the lore -- what good is any of it if we couldn't even save him?

Dean: At least you were there for him.
Sam: Listen, we talked about this.

Dean: I know. Gotta happen. It's the only way. Right. But I don't like rollin' the dice on the word of a psycho ex-angel killer.
Sam: I don't love it, either, but taking risks, making crappy deals -- that's what we do.
Dean: Yeah, and they usually bite us in the ass.
Sam: So, what do you want to do about it? Leave Jack in the morgue? Burn him?
Dean: I didn't say that.
Sam: Because, for me, not doing this -- that -- that would be like letting him die all over again.

Dean: I want Jack back, too, okay? I do. I just don't trust Lily.
Dean: You know, maybe we got off to a bad start. Um, guess I should be thanking you.

Lily: Apology accepted.
Dean: Except something's been bothering me. You know, if this magic of yours is so great, why'd you stop using it? You're letting yourself get old. You're letting yourself die. Why? Why risk going to Hell if you don't have to? There's something you're not tellin' us.
Lily: When Ishim took my daughter, I swore I'd kill him, even if it meant burning my entire soul. But it didn't. I have a sliver, a whisper of my soul left.
Dean: And?

Lily: May -- my daughter, my little girl -- is in Heaven. And if there is still a piece of my soul... Now do you understand?
Anubis: Mm. The brothers Winchester. I must say, your files have come across my desk many times.

Sam: We never met? I mean, we've died.
Dean: Yeah. A lot.
Anubis: I'm more of a 'back of the house' kind of guy. Death and her subordinates get all the face time. I get stuck with the paperwork.

Dean: Pushin' pencils, damning souls. Tough work.
Castiel: Take me in his stead. Take me.

Cosmic Entity: You?
Castiel: I'm the one you want. I'm the one who woke you up.
Cosmic Entity: You? But you're already mine.
Castiel: Not for years... eons maybe. But if you'll agree, I will go now, and I will go willingly.

Cosmic Entity: Deal. Oh, but not now. No, no, no, no, no. No, you see, I-I meant what I said. I-I want you to suffer. I want you to go back to -- to your normal life and -- and then forget about this and forget about me. And -- And then, when you finally give yourself permission to be happy and let the sun shine on your face, that's when I'll come. That's when I'll come to drag you to nothing.
Jack: Why? Why did you do that?
Castiel: Because I made a promise. Because I love you, Jack. And Sam and Dean -- they love you. And they are fighting for you at this very minute.
Jack: We didn't get enough time.
Kelly: Shh. It's okay. Go. Have a great life. I'll be waiting. I love you so much.
Jack: Is, uh, something wrong?

Sam: No. No, not at all.
Dean: Just damn glad to have you back.
Sam: Yeah.
Dean: And we know where Michael is. Not quite sure how you pulled that one off.
Castiel: Well, we still don't know where Dark Kaia is or the spear.
Sam: Yeah, but we will. We'll figure it out. We'll find her. I mean, we found her before.

Dean: That's right. And then Michael -- and that son of a bitch is gonna pay. Come on.

Trivia & References

According to writer Meredith Glynn "Byzantium" is a reference to a William Butler Yeats poem which could be "Sailing to Byzantium" or the later poem "Byzantium."
Jack: Sam... what happens next... for someone like me?

Sam: I don't know.
Jack: Then it's gonna be an adventure.

"To die will be an awfully big adventure” is a line said by Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, a character created by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie in 1902.
Naomi: Tell me -- what choice do we have? If we don't meet its demands, Heaven will fall. 46,750,000,000 human souls will be cast in the wind. What's one Nephilim boy against all that? You know I'm right, Castiel. This is what we have to do.
The number 46,750,000,000 comes from The Republican Vol. I by Richard Carlile, published in 1819. The book theorizes that 46,750,000,000 is the number of damned heathen souls.
This episode presents Anubis in the form of an accountant tallying the good and bad choices a person has made to determine whether they will go to Heaven or Hell. It aired the same night as the third season episode "Janet(s)" from the comedy The Good Place. In that episode, the main characters also visit an afterlife accountant who is responsible for tallying up a person's choices in life in a similar way.

Minutiae

Original score by Christopher Lennertz.
Amanda Tapping and Courtney Ford's names appear at the end of the episode, in order to keep their appearances a surprise.
Jack's personal Heaven appears to be the road trip to Dodge City in 13.06 Tombstone.
At their wake for Jack, Sam, Dean, and Castiel eat nougat -- Jack's favorite candy.
Dean comments that Kevin translated the angel tablet into a cuneiform-like language that only a prophet could read. This is a reference to 9.06 Heaven Can't Wait, when Kevin translated the tablet and the footnotes into proto-elamite cuneiform.
Castiel: Anubis. Guardian of the Dead. The Ancient Egyptians believed that when you die, Anubis would weigh your heart on his scale against justice's feather.

Sam: Yeah, the -- the weighing of the heart ceremony, right, but that wasn't Anubis. That was Osiris. We met him.
Dean: Major dick.
Castiel: Osiris is Anubis's father, and Heaven passed over him when they enlisted his son.

We learn that Anubis, like Atropos and her sisters, was brought in to work with Heaven despite being a "pagan god." Sam also mentions his and Dean's encounter with Osiris from 7.04 Defending Your Life. While Osiris determined a person's fate based on how much guilt they felt, his son Anubis weighs up the good and bad deeds a person has done.
All of Heaven's gates are open once again following the Cosmic Entity's attack. Castiel states that even the gates that Metatron closed have been reopened for the first time since 8.23 Sacrifice.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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