14.18 Absence

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Title Absence
Episode # Season 14, Episode 18
First aired April 11, 2019
Directed by Nina Lopez-Corrado
Written by Robert Berens
On IMDB Absence
Outline Sam, Dean, and Castiel race to find out what happened to Jack and Mary.
Monster N/A
Timeline Immediately after 14.17 Game Night
Location(s) Lebanon, Kansas
Longton, Kansas
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Sam and Dean return to the Bunker and find that Mary and Jack are nowhere to be found. Waiting in the library, they toast to their successful hunt for Nick and saving Donatello, and their relief that Jack was able to heal Sam. Dean tries to call Mary, but her phone rings in the War Room, sparking concern. Sam tries to call Jack, but he isn't answering his phone either. They proceed to call everyone they know, but nobody has seen nor heard from Mary or Jack. Rowena tells Sam she might have a spell to locate them. Castiel calls Dean back, and expresses worry that Mary was alone with Jack. He confesses his concerns about Jack that began after witnessing him kill Felix the snake. Dean angrily hangs up on Cas while Sam tries to track Jack's phone, only to discover he's bouncing all over the globe.

Later that night, Jack returns to the cabin where he'd killed Nick and Mary, and checks his phone messages as his battery dies. Lucifer "appears" behind him on the porch, claiming to be Jack's subconscious and offering advice, telling Jack there's no coming back for him after killing Mary. Lucifer pushes him to prove it by calling Sam and Dean and telling them what he did, but Jack banishes him with an angry blast of power.

Sam and Dean drive toward the cabin, the last place they traced Jack's phone. Sam tries rationalizing why Jack isn't answering, theorizing he was mistaken and Lucifer did come back, prompting him to run. He suggests Jack may have thought he was being kind by killing the snake. Sam tries to understand Jack without a soul, and Dean argues they don't know he doesn't have one, and ends the conversation. They find Nick's burned body inside the cabin but no sign of Mary or Jack. In the woods behind the cabin, Dean finds a circle of charred earth.

Cas sits in his truck at the cabin, remembering a hunt he went on with Mary soon after her return. Cas offered to heal a wound for her, but she backed away and declined, and admitted she was still a little afraid of him. Cas told her how glad Sam and Dean were to have her back, so they don't have to be so alone. She tells Cas that they were never alone. Back in the present, Cas gets out of his truck and goes inside to find Sam and Dean discussing what Jack appears to have done to Nick. Dean describes the blast site outside and thinks Lucifer could've caused it, and gets upset when Sam reminds him that Jack said he stopped Lucifer from coming back. Dean becomes even more upset over the fact Cas knew something was wrong with Jack and didn't say anything to them. Cas explains his fear of losing their family, and why he went in search of a way to cure Jack on his own, feeling it was his responsibility, and that he'd failed all of them. Angry, Dean tells Cas that if anything happened to Mary that he is "dead to me."

Rowena calls Sam and informs him she can't track Jack's energy because it's too unstable, like "looking at the sun," and that she can't find a trace of Mary anywhere on Earth. They let this information sink in, and Dean smashes a chair in anger. He says they're gonna bring her back with Rowena's help, using the Book of the Damned, and tells Cas to go to Heaven to find Mary before storming out.

Rowena is researching a resurrection spell when Jack knocks on her door. He demands her help resurrecting Mary. He tells Rowena Mary's death was an accident, and he is desperate to undo it. While Rowena explains the spell, Sam and Dean arrive at her apartment, and Jack grabs her and disappears before Sam and Dean break the door down. Meanwhile, Cas arrives at the playground, finding it deserted, and he is unable to reach Naomi on angel radio.

Jack transports Rowena to the Bunker to gather the ingredients for her spell. A scarred spot on the library's wooden floor triggers a memory of Mary teaching Jack knife skills. After Jack dropped the blade many times, leaving numerous marks in the floor, he was worried Dean would be angry about it. Mary smiled and pulled one of the tables over to hide the marks. Within the memory, Jack leaves and Sam joins Mary in the library, asking about Jack's training, and apologizing for not helping her more with it while he's been searching for Dean. They talk about "parental guilt," and Mary has an emotional moment over how amazing Sam grew up to be anyway, before the memory fades into Sam's present, at Rowena's apartment.

Dean is frustrated, upset they have no way to follow Jack and Rowena, and still angry that Cas didn't warn them about Jack sooner. Sam points out that they'd all had concerns and reservations about Jack, and they couldn't blame Cas for reacting the same way they all did, by trying to rationalize it, and hoping that he'd be okay. He says they'd all refused to see the signs.

At the Bunker, Rowena mixes ingredients for the spell. She tries to convince Jack that they all want the same thing, and that he should talk to Sam, Dean, and Cas. Jack sees the vision of Lucifer again, this time mocking the fact he asked for Rowena's help. Jack begins talking back to the illusion, and Rowena grows concerned for him. Lucifer insists Jack can't feel anything anymore, not even guilt, and tells him to stop trying to fix it. Rowena informs him they only need one more thing for the spell: Mary's body.

Cas, still at the playground, refuses to leave until he can speak with Naomi. Dumah, however, is the one to come through the portal to talk to him. She tells him that Mary is in her own special Heaven, at peace, even if he and the Winchesters aren't.

Jack brings Rowena to the site where Mary died to work the spell, but Rowena insists that the spell can't work without Mary's body. Jack becomes irate, grabbing the spell bowl while Rowena tries to talk him out of it, telling him that whatever he brings back, it won't be Mary. When Rowena refuses to help him, Jack sends her flying back to her flat, where she calls Sam to report what happened to them, and what Jack plans to do next.

Jack begins casting the spell, opening a swirling purple vortex in the sky. The Impala races down the dirt road while the wind picks up and Jack continues chanting. He sees the car approaching and magically switches off the engine. Sam and Dean run through the woods hoping to stop Jack in time. Jack finishes the spell as they arrive, tearfully tells them it didn't work, and disappears. Dean runs to Mary's body, now lying where she'd died. He thinks back to the two of them driving in the Impala, Mary asleep against his shoulder, as he and Sam mourn her.

Jack hides away in an old factory, and his vision of Lucifer returns, telling Jack that Cas, Sam, and Dean will never trust him again, and that he will never be able to trust them.

At the Bunker, Sam sits at the kitchen table looking through family photos. Cas joins him and confirms that Mary is in Heaven, and at peace. Dean soon enters the kitchen, and Cas tells them that Dumah let him see for himself that Mary's happy there. Sam says Rowena believes what Jack brought back was just a shell, not capable of life, and asks what they should do now. Dean tells Sam they will do what they always do -- build a pyre and give Mary a hunter's funeral. Her initials join Sam's and Dean's on the table in the Bunker.






Jack: Whatever you are... I don't want your help.

Jackifer: Actually, you do. So I'm gonna give you a little piece of advice, bud, how you can wiggle out of this little pickle you're in. You don't. You won't. You can't. All right? Buddy, you killed Mary Winchester. You cannot come back from that, and you know it. All right? you've been flapping your wings all around, trying to run away from what you did, and where'd you wind up? Right here, right back to the scene of the crime.
Jack: No.

Jackifer: Yeah. Yeah, because somewhere inside, you realize that the sooner you accept it, the easier it'll be.
Castiel: Are you still afraid of me?

Mary: Maybe a little. I haven't been back that long. Angels are real. Angels are friends. Angels can heal you with a wave of a glowy hand. I -- It's all pretty new still. We should get back. Boys will be waiting.
Castiel: I know you know this, Mary, but... Sam and Dean -- they're glad to have you back. Whatever you still have to deal with and however long it takes, you should know they're happy. I mean, finally, they don't have to be so... so alone.

Mary: Castiel. They were never alone.
Dean: Who cares what Jack said? We don't know what happened! But I swear, if he did something to her, if she is... Then you're dead to me.
Castiel: I was scared. I believed in Jack for so long, I... I believed that he was -- he was good. I -- I knew that he would be good for the world. And he was good for us. My faith in him, it -- it never wavered, and then I-I saw what he did. It wasn't malice. It wasn't evil. It was like Jack saw a problem, and in his mind, he just solved it with that snake.

Dean: The snake?!
Castiel: What he did wasn't bad. It was the absence of good. And I saw that in him. But we were a family, and I didn't want to lose that, so I thought I could... fix it on my own. Felt like it was my responsibility. So I left. And I didn't tell you. If I could go back and just -- just talk to him right then and there, I would. But I can't, Dean. I failed you. And I failed Jack. And I failed --

Dean: No, no. Don't even say it. Don't even say her name.
Sam: I feel bad. I've been so busy looking for Dean...

Mary: Sam, everyone here understands what you've been doing and what you've been putting yourself through.
Sam: Yeah, I know, but Jack's been through a lot -- you know, losing his powers. And I haven't really been there for him. Sorry, Mom. I don't mean to lay all this on you.
Mary: No. Are you kidding? It's nice knowing I'm not the only one... with parental guilt. How much did the two of you go through when I wasn't there for you? And even when Amara brought me back and I got a second chance, things got complicated. I got complicated.
Sam: Mom.

Mary: No, I'm just saying... parenting is always a struggle. You always feel like you're failing, but then you look at them, and somehow they're amazing. And somehow, they're literally... the bravest... kindest... most heroic men on the planet. Kids. They'll always surprise you.
Sam: Dean, it wasn't just Cas. It wasn't. We knew Jack was dangerous. We always knew. Long before he killed Michael. You more than anyone. I mean, from the very beginning, you knew. But, you know, we fell for him 'cause he had a good heart and a good soul. Then he didn't. And that's on me, too, by the way. I mean, I'm the one that made the call to bring him back. He didn't ask for that. I decided for him. And you warned me.
Sam: You know, after Maggie and the other hunters died... I just left. Just... dumped Jack on Cas and left. I knew. I mean, I knew something... was gonna... I just didn't know it'd be this.
Dean: I did it, too. When I talked to Donatello about Jack, he said he was good as far as he could tell. But then he talked about how powerful Jack was and that he could never really be sure. And it was a warning. I just couldn't see it.
Jackifer: There's no going back. You realize that now. Cas, Sam, Dean... they're never gonna trust you again. And you know what that means.

Jack: What?

Jackifer: You can never trust them.
Castiel: I saw your mother's Heaven, and she is happy. She's with John, and there's no sorrow. There's no guilt. Just joy.
Sam: I talked to Rowena. She said she thinks what Jack brought back... He just brought back a shell. A body, you know. That it was empty. Just a... a replica. "Incapable of holding life." So, what are we supposed to do now?
Dean: What we always do.

Trivia & References

After accidentally killing Mary, Jack travels to Nepal; Lima, Peru; Paris, France; Madagascar; and back to the cabin. Each of these destinations are associated with healing:
  • Nepal is the location of the fictional land of Shangri-La where people lived for hundreds of years.
  • Peru is where the psychedelic brew Ayahuasca is made and used in spiritual and other healing ceremonies.
  • Jack may have stopped in Paris after visiting Lourdes in France, a place many Roman Catholics visit to take in water they believe has miraculous healing powers, due to reported appearances of the Virgin Mary.
  • In Madagascar, traditional healers work closely with the spirit world.
Sam: Kind of sounds like you're bummed about it.

Dean: No. A "get out of jail free" card? I'll take that.

A "get out of jail free" card is used in the board game Monopoly, to avoid the tile marked "Jail" which results in a lost turn. It has become a metaphor for something that allows a person to avoid an undesirable situation.
Dean: He said that Jack went all Kevorkian on his snake.
Jack Kevorkian was a proponent of euthanasia who assisted a number of people in ending their lives.
Dean: Cas. Cas should have told us. As soon as he saw Jack go all Dahmer on his stupid freakin' snake, he should have told us.
Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer who tortured and murdered 17 men and boys.


This is the seventh episode in which no characters were killed, following: 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book, 4.21 When the Levee Breaks, 10.17 Inside Man, 11.23 Alpha and Omega, and 12.02 Mamma Mia, with Naomi's death in 8.23 Sacrifice having been retconned.
"Absence" marked Samantha Smith's final appearance as Mary Winchester. She holds the record for most appearances for a recurring female character at 38 episodes.
The Jackifer manifestation is similar to Hallucifer, Sam's Lucifer hallucinations throughout Season 7 after Castiel broke the wall in his mind.
In the flashback scene between Mary and Cas, Mary speaks as if it is just after Amara bought her back. We only know of her taking one hunt (during the events of 12.03 The Foundry), before she left the Bunker and Cas and the Winchesters to have some space for herself. Writer Robert Berens confirmed that this was deliberate.
Mary is said to be at peace in a special Heaven with John Winchester, confirming for the first time that John made it to Heaven after escaping from Hell in 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two. While only Mary's name is listed on the door to her Heaven (with her two death dates 1954-1983 and 2016-2019), in 5.16 Dark Side of the Moon, Ash described that while most people had individual Heavens, some "special cases" shared a Heaven like soul-mates, which may be the case for Mary and John. This circumstance was also seen with Sam and Dean sharing their Heaven in the episode and later Jimmy and Amelia Novak in 10.20 Angel Heart. Dumah does describe Mary's Heaven as a "special Heaven" and says that Mary is complete. In 14.19 Jack in the Box she confirms that Mary and John share a Heaven.
While in the present Castiel continues to drive the newer, more modern truck first seen in 14.07 Unhuman Nature, his old truck from Season 12 is seen in the flashback to his hunt with Mary. This is the first time that truck has been seen since it was abandoned outside of Kelly's cabin in 13.01 Lost and Found following Castiel's death.
Although most of the flashback scenes are in fact new scenes filmed specially for this episode, there are actual flashbacks to 13.14 Good Intentions, 13.20 Unfinished Business, and 14.13 Lebanon. These include Jack killing the Apocalypse World Zachariah and his angels, and the Winchester Family dinner from 14.13 Lebanon before John returned to 2003.
The final shot of the episode shows Mary Winchester's initials alongside the initials Sam and Dean engraved there in the 12.18 The Memory Remains

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts