15.01 Back and to the Future

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Title Back and to the Future
Episode # Season 15, Episode 1
First aired October 10, 2019
Directed by John F. Showalter
Written by Andrew Dabb
On IMDB Back and to the Future
Outline As Sam, Dean, and Castiel battle the damned souls Chuck released from Hell and try to protect a local town, they meet a strange new ally.
Monster Hell Ghosts / Zombies
Timeline Immediately after 14.20 Moriah
Location(s) Harlan, Kansas
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Sam, Dean, and Castiel are surrounded by the dead, which the souls released from Hell by Chuck have reanimated. As they try to fight the horde off, they realize that they are outnumbered. Castiel takes Jack's dead body over his shoulder and together they run into a family mausoleum on the cemetery. While the undead try to get in, Sam, Dean, and Castiel try to understand the situation. Sam asks Castiel if he could revive Jack, but he says he can't. They are trying to come up with a plan to escape when Sam says he hears water. Sam and Dean break open the wall but immediately a zombie tries to squeeze himself in before Castiel smashes him with a stone.

Jack suddenly rises from the floor. Sam thinks that it's actually Jack, back from the dead, but Castiel informs them that his body is possessed by a demon. The demon apologizes and immediately confirms Castiel's statement, and picks up some sunglasses left amongst the trash in the crypt to hide his burned-out eyes. The demon introduces himself as Belphegor and starts to explain himself but Castiel attacks him, pinning him against the wall. Castiel doesn't trust him, but Sam and Dean convince him that they actually need some support to escape. Belphegor agrees -- he says he is keen for Hell to return to its normal mode of operation. With the contribution of some angel’s blood from Castiel and some graveyard dirt, Belphegor does a spell. Everything falls silent, and when they open the crypt door, all the zombies are inert on the ground.

In the nearby town of Harlan, Kansas, two teenagers are in a bedroom, listening to music, putting on make up and different jewelry for fun. While one of them is explaining that her mom buys everything for her since the divorce from her father, a mysterious creature appears on the mirror, but stays unseen for the two girls. When one of them takes a look at herself in the mirror, she starts wondering about her reflection in the mirror acting on its own, before blood comes out of her eyes. Suddenly Bloody Mary is in the mirror and the girl sees blood running down from her eyes. She screams in pain as the touch of her own face with her fingers makes her skin melt. Her friend tries to run away but her path it blocked by Mary Worthington, who has left the mirror.

Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Belphegor are driving. Sam checks the internet for any news, but finds nothing unusual so far. Belphegor says it just takes a bit of time until all the souls from Hell find a person to possess. Sam asks him how many souls that might be and Belphegor assumes about two to three billion spirits. Dean suggests they go back to the Bunker to figure out a plan on how to close the rift, but Belphegor doubts that's even possible. To buy some time and to cut the damage, the demon recommends offers to do a spell to contain the souls in a mile-wide barrier, through which no ghosts can get in or out. Castiel fears for the people in the small town of Harlan, which is within that one-mile circle. Dean says they are going to evacuate that place, so the ghosts can't harm anyone.

With the plan set, they drive ahead but soon come across a car parked oddly by the side of the road. Sam and Dean get out to see what happened, but they find the car empty, with blood splattered at the windows. Sam thinks that this is a Woman in White, possibly the same spirit they killed 15 years ago. Dean concludes that all the evil spirits they killed in their whole life might be back.

A mother and her daughter run through their house, trying to get away, while a distorted, laughing voice is audible, asking them to play with him. The walls and interior have blood stains everywhere. Mother and daughter end up in the garage, but can't get outside, and begin to frantically look for a place to hide. A moment later, John Wayne Gacy's spirit appears and begins searching the garage for his intended victims.

Arriving in Harlan, Sam poses as an FBI agent and talks to the local sheriff, while the others wait in the Impala. Dean tells Castiel to take Belphegor to collect everything he needs for his spell, but Castiel refuses, feeling distraught by the sight of Jack's possessed body. Meanwhile, Sam convinces the sheriff to evacuate everyone due to a benzene leak in a pipe just outside town. The sheriff suggests they move everyone to a high school that's about five miles away from the city center.

While waiting in the Impala, Dean puts Chuck's gun into the glove box. Belphegor takes a look around and comments on how good-looking people are these days and that it's been awhile since he was alive on earth. Dean asks about the ingredients for the spell and Belphegor tells him that they need a bag of salt and a human heart.

After the local houses are evacuated, Sam and Castiel do one more pass to check inside them. Castiel comes across Bloody Mary's victims while Sam goes inside the home where John Wayne Gacy attacked the family. Sam finds mother and daughter hiding in the garage. When he's about to bring them outside, Gacy's spirit appears, cutting Sam with his knife. Castiel enters the garage and shoots the evil spirit with rock salt before he can attack again. Castiel heals Sam's gash from the ghost, and then tries to heal the wound from when he shot Chuck with the Equalizer. Sam has a vision of himself in the Bunker in alarm mode and he seems to have black eyes and he can hear Dean beg: “Sammy, please.” Castiel is unsuccessful in healing the wound, saying that it contains some kind of energy he never felt before. A second later Sam's phone rings. The sheriff tells Sam that everyone's at the school. Sam, Castiel, the mother, and her daughter are leaving the neighborhood when more ghosts attack them.

Dean exits a store with a bag of salt under his arm, talking to Rowena on the telephone and asking her to meet them for support. When he's back at the Impala, Belphegor mentions that he's been a fan of Dean since his time in Hell. He saw what Dean did to souls and thinks that his way of torturing was art. Dean feels uneasy about this. He asks Belphegor what Hell is like now like with the rift open and Belphegor compares it to an anthill that caught fire. He adds that every door sprang open and the sky cracked. After Dean inquires, Belphegor confirms that even the Cage's door is open. Dean wants to know about Michael. As far as the demon knows, Michael is just sitting in the Cage.

As they head to the morgue to get a human heart, they hear a scream and find the body of the sheriff, who has been killed by the Woman in White. The demon seizes the opportunity to take the man's heart for his spell. Dean suddenly realizes a ghost is near due to the temperature drop, and gets thrown away by the Woman in White, who says that she remembers Dean taking her home. When she turns her attention to Belphegor, Dean hits the Woman in White with iron, making her disappear. Belphegor does the spell, activating a barrier around Harlan that ends a few yards away from Sam and the others. They manage to cross the line before the spirits can attack again and they see that the ghosts are now trapped inside the circle.

Sam, Dean, and the others bring the mother and her daughter to the high school where the rest of the townsfolk have taken refuge and advise them not to say anything about the things they've seen today, as they don't want to start a panic. The daughter says “Thank you” and Sam brings them both inside. Dean asks Castiel if he's okay. Castiel says that he is and when he tries to say more, Dean immediately turns away, not interested in any conversation.

When Sam comes back, Dean wants to check on Sam's shoulder, where he wounded himself shooting Chuck. Sam is reluctant at first, but lets him take a look anyway. Dean finds no exit wound and asks if it hurts. Sam says it hurts just a little. Dean asks if he remembers what Dean did as a child while tending Sam's wounds. Sam remembers the stupid jokes Dean told him for distraction. He starts with a knock-knock joke and when Sam asks “who's...” he's interrupted by Dean disinfecting his wound. Dean tells Sam how he is wrestling with Chuck’s revelation that He has manipulated the Winchesters their whole life. Sam counters that they still saved people and that now, as Chuck is seemingly gone, if they beat this apocalypse then it will be all their own achievement. As they stow their gear in the trunk of the Impala, Sam says “We got work to do.”




  • "The Famous Final Scene" by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
(plays during "The Road So Far" recap of events and the opening scene until the title card; also played in 9.10 Road Trip)
  • "Gimme What I Want" by Tony Stafford, Jr., Michael Smith, and NineOneOne (Extreme Music)
(playing in the girl's room when Bloody Mary attacks)
  • "Too Good to Be True" by Lon Rogers & the Soul Blenders
(playing from the car stereo of the Woman in White victim; also played in 13.11 Breakdown)


Dean: So, what? Chuck throws friggin' zombies at us now?!

Sam: I don't know if they're zombies, Dean. I think -- I think whenever the souls came up from Hell that they-they just...

Dean: They what? Just jumped into the nearest body?
Dean: Great. So we go outside, we get ripped apart. We stay in here, w-what, starve to death?!

Castiel: Well, I wouldn't starve.

Dean: Well, good for you.
Dean: Great. Son of a bitch. Chuck. Man, I knew it. I knew He would do something like this. He's always so squirrelly, you know, with the -- with the -- the robe and the beard and... the smile that's, like, half-nice, half "I'm gonna rip your throat out."
Castiel: He's an abomination!
Belphegor: You're an abomination with that stupid, dumb trench coat.
Sam: Dean, this could be our Woman in White.

Dean: Dude. We sent her to Hell years ago.
Sam: Yeah, but she could be back.

Dean: Well, if she's back, then they're all back. Every last one that we ever killed. Let's go.
Dean: Rowena, we need your help, so move your ass. What? No, I'm not... Move your exquisite ass, please. Alright? Great.
Dean: So, with all this going on, what's it like down there?

Belphegor: In Hell?
Dean: Yeah.
Belphegor: You ever seen an anthill when it's, like, set on fire? Okay, well, there we were, minding our own business, you know, flaying people for eternity, like you do, right? And then every door in Hell just sprang open, all at once. You know? Souls got out. Sky cracked. And, uh, boom, ta-da, you know?
Dean: Wait. Every door? Even the Cage?
Belphegor: Yeah, even the Cage.
Dean: And Michael?

Belphegor: Well, last I heard he was just sittin there. Yeah, but if he got out, I mean -- ugh. I mean... he wouldn't hold a grudge, right?
Dean: Hey, do you remember when we were little? What I would do to distract you whenever I'd rip off a Band-Aid or something like that?

Sam: Yeah. You'd tell some stupid joke.

Dean: Yeah. Knock, knock.
Dean: Just when we thought we had a choice. You know, whenever we thought we had free will. We were just rats in a maze. Sure, we could go left. Sure, we could go right. But we were still in the damn maze. Just makes you think, if all of it -- you know, everything that we've done... What did it even mean?
Sam: It meant a lot. We still saved people.
Sam: That's what He does. He gets bored and-and-and pulls the ripcord. I mean, that's what He did with Apocalypse World and-and probably with all of them. He moves on, starts another story. But you know what? Good. 'Cause if He bailed, it's just us. For the first time. It's just us.

Dean: And about 3 billion ghosts.
Sam: Yeah, well, what's one more apocalypse, right? But seriously, if we win -- when we win this, God's gone. There's no one to screw with us. There's no more maze. It's just us. And we're free.
Dean: So you and me versus every soul in Hell? I like those odds.
Sam: Yeah, me too.
Dean: Well, you know what that means?

Sam: We got work to do.

Trivia & References

"Back and to the Future" is a reference to the Back to the Future films, as well as the fact that Sam and Dean are once again facing enemies from their past. It may also be a reference to the much-repeated line "back and to the left" from the 1991 film JFK.
The name on the crypt that Sam, Dean, and Castiel take refuge in is "Carver," a reference to previous Supernatural writer and showrunner, Jeremy Carver.
Belphegor: Anyway, I'm guessing this whole, uh, Hellmouth thing is kind of, uh, you?
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Hellmouth was the doorway to Hell located beneath the town of Sunnydale which the protagonists have to keep closed. It's mentioned in the series finale that there is also one in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, Belphegor was one of the main antagonists in the Buffy novels The Gatekeeper Trilogy.
Belphegor: I mean, the last time I was on Earth, I mean, I was human. Ah, it was a while ago. I mean, but, you know, we were all worshiping this giant rock that looked like a huge penis, and... Anyway, folks back then, they were, uh, ugly. You know? Had a lot of humps. I mean, a lot. Look at 'em now. I mean, look at you. I mean, you're, uh, you know, gorgeous.
Belphegor may be referencing the Rudson Monolith, the tallest standing stone in the United Kingdom which dates back to the Neolithic era (10,000 - 4,500 BC), and does look like a huge rock penis. In lore Belphegor was often times depicted and worshiped in the form of a phallus. Belphegor's remarks about how much better looking people have become, and how he considers Dean to be gorgeous, also could be a reference to Belphegor being associated with licentiousness and orgies.
Dean: Hey, Casper.
Reference to Casper, the Friendly Ghost. In 1.01 Pilot Sam also refers to the Woman in White as Casper when questioning Dean about shooting her in the face.


As with every season, the title card has been updated. Among the images flashing on screen include an angel banishing sigil, an Aquarian Star, a cosmic background, a glowing Samulet, a Hell Ghost, burning angel wings, an iris / rift similar to season 13's title card, and an inverted pentagram. You can see these images here.
Continuity Error: Belphegor's right hand had Castiel's blood and graveyard dirt, which he used to banish the ghosts outside the mausoleum from the corpses they were possessing. However, when he claps his hands and cast the spell, his hands were completely clean. Later, when they exit the mausoleum, Belphegor raises his right hand gesturing for a high-five, though it's stained with blood and dirt.
This is the third episode where the "The Road So Far" recap song has continued playing into the start of an episode, after 2.21 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One and 14.01 Stranger in a Strange Land. Unlike those two prior instances, the music in "Back and to the Future" is not diegetic.
Appearing among the Hell Ghosts are Constance Welch aka the Woman in White from 1.01 Pilot, Mary Worthington aka Bloody Mary from 1.05 Bloody Mary, and John Wayne Gacy aka Pogo the Clown from 14.13 Lebanon.
Hell is revealed to have a newspaper, but terrible Wi-Fi. Though, Belphegor may have been being sarcastic.
Belphegor's interactions with the world around him suggest that he can see just fine even with Jack's eyes burned out. In 4.01 Lazarus Rising, a demon who had her meatsuit's eyes burned out by Castiel couldn't see at all, though Flo says that she can "still smell [Sam's] soul a mile away." It implies that demons compensate with their other senses when their eyes are damaged beyond repair. Though in the case of Belphegor, it was only Jack who was missing his eyes, whereas Flo had her eyes and her meatsuit's eyes burned out.
Belphegor mentions Dean's time in Hell, where he was tortured by Alastair, until after 30 years Dean accepted Alastair's deal that he would stop if Dean himself would become a torturer. Belphegor says he got to watch Dean "work" and described the things he did to people as not torture, but "art."
At the end of the pilot, there is a shot of Dean and Sam standing over the trunk of the Impala. As Sam tosses a weapon into he trunk he says, "We got work to do" and closes the trunk. At the end of 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two, the scene is replayed with the brother's positions reversed. Dean tosses the Colt into the trunk and says, "We got work to do." It is also re-created at the start of 10.05 Fan Fiction after Dean announces he has found a case. In "Back and to the Future", Sam says it and closes the trunk, while the image briefly flashes to the Winchesters closing the trunk at the end of the pilot.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts