15.11 The Gamblers

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SPN-1511.jpg
Title The Gamblers
Episode # Season 15, Episode 11
First aired January 30, 2020
Directed by Charles Beeson
Written by Meredith Glynn
Davy Perez
On IMDB The Gamblers
Outline As Sam and Dean attempt to restore their luck, Castiel investigates a series of angel murders committed by a resurrected Jack.
Monster Fortuna
Grigori
Timeline
Location(s) Alaska
Lebanon, Kansas
Cushing, Oklahoma
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Synopsis

A man in a cowboy hat and a man with glasses are playing pool in a pool hall. There is a coin hanging from a light, which lights up green. The man with the glasses is upset by this; he takes the coin into his hand and yells, "No!" He tries to hit his opponent with the cue stick, but the man stops him and says, "No fights". He is taken away and thrown outside on the ground. He puts on his glasses which fell off and walks away, tossing his coin in the air. He is then hit by a truck.

The door of the bunker opens. Cas enters, calling for Sam and Dean but getting no answer. He finds a note, which reveals that they are in Alaska.

Sam and Dean are on the road to Alaska. Sam is texting with Eileen about their plan to change their luck. She thinks it sounds too good to be true, and Sam admits that he also his doubts. Dean is desperate and says he "can't take this normal crap anymore". Sam points out that no one but Garth seems to have heard of this place -- there's no lore, no mention of it anywhere. Dean believes it is real.

A cell phone is ringing in a dark room in the bunker. Cas answers it and hears Jeb Evans of Cushing Oklahoma, a deputy of the sheriff's office, on the line. He's looking for Agent Watts, a.k.a. Dean. Cas introduces himself as Agent Lizzo and offers to come and investigate in the place of the absent Agent Watts. The deputy tells Cas that he has a homicide case involving Jack Kline, a person of interest of theirs. Cas is stunned and speechless, but manages to agree that Jack is indeed one of theirs.

The Impala stops at the Round Up Cafe, which bills itself as the last stop for a hundred miles. Sam wonders why they're not saving money and eating the sandwiches in the cooler, but Dean says he ate them while Sam was asleep. Sam reminds him they are short on cash. In the cafe, Dean puts some change on the counter, asking the waitress what they could get for $4.60. She says a slice of pie and two forks. Sam is looking at a map to see where they are going. Dean asks the waitress about a road on the map. She says that urban legend has it that there is a place in the middle of nowhere, a pool hall of magic, where if you win you come back with luck, "like, hit the Powerball lucky". No one leaves, though. She says she knows a man named Leonard who went there and never came back. She heard he had an accident and died. After she leaves to answer the phone, the boys discuss what she's revealed. They know this is the place -- a pool hall the makes you lucky or kills you. Sam thinks it sounds like a witch or a demon, but Dean retorts that pool is the game of champions and kings, a game they've been hustling and playing all their lives. The waitress returns and asks if the Impala is theirs. It has a flat.

Cas is still talking to the deputy on the phone. He has a lap top and is looking at a video that the officer has sent him. Jack is seen coming into a building. He approaches a door, and a doctor meets him outside of his office. Then the video gets interference for 2 ½ minutes. Jack then enters the doctor's office and eats his heart.

Sam and Dean arrive at the pool hall and speak to the bartender. Dean asks for two waters, and asks her her name. She says it's Evie. Then he asks about a game, and she refers him to Pax, a dark-haired man at a desk. Dean asks her if she remembers a man that was there a few weeks ago, Leonard. She says no. They speak to Pax, who wants to know how they found the place. Dean tells them they heard about it from a friend. He tells Pax that they are short on money, and Pax replied that they don't bet with money. He pulls a coin out of a box instead. He tells Dean to touch it, and when he does, it lights up green. Some people come in with a certain kind of luck, Pax says. Dean's luck is about average. He tells Dean to put the coin on the table before a game and maybe his luck will improve. Sam asks him what this place is, who owns it? Pax tells him he just works here. Dean asks if he can split his luck with anyone. Pax tells Dean that it's his and he can do anything he wants with it.

Sam and Dean discuss their next move. Dean is confident he can win -- he's been playing pool most of his life. He reminds Sam about the monster fight club and how they barely escaped, how bad they need their luck back. They agree that they need to try, and that Dean will be the one shooting since he's the better player.

Cas searches the building where Jack killed the doctor. In a closet, he finds a long black case containing the sword of a Grigori angel. Jack is seen following a man who is carrying a case like the doctor's into a fenced-in place.

Back at the pool hall, Dean is talking loudly about how rusty he is, trying to attract a player. A red-headed woman drinking shots of whiskey at the bar takes his challenge. She puts her coin in the slot hanging from the light above the table and tells Dean to rack 'em up. At the bar, Evie asks Sam why he didn't play, and Sam replies that it isn't really his thing. He asks Evie what the deal is with the woman Dean is playing. Evie says she's been here a while and that her sister is in a coma. Sam asks if she's playing to wake her up, and Evie replies that everyone has something they want. Sam asks her if she has smelled anything odd, like rotten eggs, but she has not. He asks if she has noticed small bundle laying around. She again replies in the negative. He tells her places like this don't exist for no reason. Evie shrugs and says that some people think the place is a godsend. She points out some of the people in the bar and explains that many of them had won, but continued to play until their luck ran out again. Now they stay in the bar trying to win again. Dean beats the red-haired lady. She swears and takes her coin out of the slot.

Jack follows the man into a building. The man grabs him from behind, putting his sword to his neck, and asks who he is and why he's following him.

Sam tells Dean what he learned from Evie, and suggest they cut their losses and leave now. Dean says he wants to play one more game, and Sam reluctantly agrees. He picks his next opponent -- the man in the cowboy hat, who introduces himself as Joey Six, a name he got on the professional bull riding circuit. Dean misses a shot, then Joey does. He calls double or nothing on Dean's next turn. Dean pockets the ball, and his coin lights up. Joey takes his coin and leaves the hall.

Joey is out on the front porch, upset. Sam comes out, and Dean follows. He congratulates Dean on the game, then he begins to cough and brings up blood. He originally came to the bar trying to beat cancer, and he's gotten an extra year out of it, but now his luck's run out. He puts a cigarette in his mouth and lights it. He coughs more.

Sam and Dean go back into the hall. Dean wants to hit the road, but now Sam wants to stay and figure the place out so he can help the other people there. Besides, he's not sure if they've gotten back all of what Chuck took from them. Dean decides to take Baby for a spin to see if the coin worked.

Cas meets with the deputy in a darkened factory. There is blood on the sidewalk. A transient witnessed an altercation here between Jack and a man with a sword. Cas asks about other abandoned buildings in the area; when the deputy mentions a church, Cas decides to check it out. He leaves the deputy behind, promising him answers..

Sam tries to get the people in the hall to leave, but none of them will. They're all hoping for one more big win, and in the meantime, they're trapped there. Dean comes back and reports that the car died before he could make it out of the parking lot. Their luck has not yet returned. Sam realizes that the accumulated luck on his coin did not fully transfer to Dean -- someone is skimming. He recognizes the image on the coin as Fortuna, Roman goddess of luck. They ask Evie if Fortuna is in the bar, but she doesn't know -- she only talks to Pax.

In an empty church, a man is taking small knives from a unfolded pouch. He is speaking with Jack, who is kneeling on the floor with his hands tied. He tells Jack he has heard of him and that he is powerful. He wants Jack to tell him why he is killing his kind. The Grigori angel, Kabaiel, reveals that the Grigori have their own frequency of angel radio, and he heard his brother crying to him when Jack killed him.

Sam enters the office to speak to Pax, distracting him so Dean can come from behind and put a blade to his neck. They call for Fortuna, saying they have her son. The redhead from Dean's first game walks in and reveals herself as the goddess. Sam says he knows she has been skimming the luck. They demand she return what they won, or they'll kill her son. She shrugs and tells him to go ahead. Shifting gears (and letting Pax go), Dean demands a rematch. She refuses, but offers to play Sam instead. Sam wants to not play for the lives of the people in the bar, but Fortuna refuses, insisting they put their luck up against their lives.

Kabaiel is making cuts into Jack's neck and chest. Jack says Kabaiel can't kill him. The angel says he can make Jack suffer. He tells Jack that he's the last of his kind now that Jack ate the others' hearts. Jack replies that the last angel he killed was pretending to be a doctor, feeding off the humans he was supposed to heal. He says Kabaiel does the same, except he likes children. Kabaiel is shocked and asks who told Jack these things. Jack replies, "Death". Before Kabaiel can stab Jack with his sword, Cas intervenes. They fight, and Cas kills him with the sword he'd found in the doctor's office. Cas runs to untie Jack, and they hug.

Back in the pool hall, Sam breaks, and the balls scatter. Fortuna asks why he needs his luck so bad, and he tells her they've been cursed by God. She says, welcome to the club. She says that God created man, but then man prayed to the sun, the womb, the rain, and the stars. At first God was furious, but then He created the other gods, like Fortuna, so they could take the blame for misfortune like bad harvests or stillborn children. Now most of the gods have been forgotten, and the few like her who remain live on scraps in the wilderness, and she's holding a grudge about it. As Sam sinks the eight ball and beats the distracted, monologuing Fortuna, Dean reveals that they're planning to fight God.

Rather than paying up now that Sam's beat her, Fortuna makes them an offer: if they're going up against God, they'll need the luck of heroes. She demands another game, double or nothing. Sam agrees to play her, but not for more luck -- he asks that, if he wins, she let all the people in the bar go. She points out that she's not keeping them captive. Sam then changes his ask: if he wins, she gives back all the luck she won from the people in the bar, and closes up shop for good. Fortuna doesn't understand why they care about a barful of losers, but agrees to their terms.

The game begins, and she runs the table, winning the game without ever letting Sam make a shot. "You challenged the Goddess of Luck in her own joint," she says. "What did you think was going to happen?" They dejectedly leave the building. As they stand in the parking lot and try to make a new plan to rescue the people in the bar, they start walking out of the building on their own. When Sam asks Evie what's happening, she replies that Fortuna is shutting down the bar because of them, that she'd thought their kind was extinct. "Our kind?" Sam asks. "Heroes," Evie replies. Then she delivers a message from the goddess: "Don't play his game. Make him play yours." She hands them a coin and walks away. Green light flows over their hands. They get into the Impala and start the engine, which purrs. Dean says, "We’re back, baby!" and they pull out on to the highway.

They enter the main room of the bunker. Dean's having no luck with scratch-off cards, but they had no car trouble, the credit card works, and two bacon double cheeseburgers didn't kill him, so it's all good. They see Cas, then Jack steps out from behind him. Cas confirms, "it's really him". Sam gives Jack a hug. Dean puts his hand on the back of Jeck's neck and stares into his eyes, then casts a questioning look at Cas, who nods. He knows it's him. That's good enough for Dean.

Later, the four of them are having a beer together at the map table. Jack explains that Billie had kept him hidden from God (and from them) in the Empty until it was safe. Now that Chuck is off world, Jack is following her plan. Eating the angel hearts was the first step on a path that will make him strong enough to kill God.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "North to Alaska" by Johnny Horton
(playing in Lurlene's as Leonard loses the pool game)
  • "Just Enough Blues" by Elijah Honey (Black Toast Music)
(playing in the diner Sam and Dean stop at for pie and coffee)
  • "Passing Glance" by Marian McPartland (APM Music)
(playing in Lurlene's as Evie describes the various players to Sam)

Quotes

Sam: I mean, how long have we been on the road looking for some place Garth says will supercharge our luck, maybe? And I mean, luck? Is that really even gonna fix our whole "problem"?

Dean: Well, it couldn't hurt. And I don't know how much more of this "normal life" crap I can take, between the credit cards, the car trouble, the constant freaking heartburn.

Sam: Well, you know, if you changed your diet... All I'm saying is that this place -- it's not even in the lore. Other than Garth, no one's ever even heard of it.
Sam: A-A pool hall that makes you lucky or might kill you? I mean, it sounds like a demon or a witch or --

Dean: Or it could be awesome. It's pool. The-the-the game of champions, kings. My game. Hell, our game. How many honest-to-goodness great memories do we have hustling pool?

Sam: Yeah, because we had to. To eat.
Dean: Man, I've been slinging pool cues since before you were born.

Sam: What? When you were 4? Really? What, between nap time and snack?

Dean: Look, we barely made it out of that monster fight club, okay? We need this. And you know it. Now, look, you're better than me at pretty much everything, okay? That's okay. I'm not mad. I'm proud. But I can wipe the floor with you when it comes to pool.
Joey Six: What did you say your name was again?
Dean: Well, my name's Dean Winchester. And I'm gonna kick your ass.
Jack: The last one I killed was pretending to be a doctor. Feeding on the souls of humans he was supposed to heal. You do it, too. Only you like children.

Kabaiel: Who told you that?

Jack: Death.
Fortuna: So, why do you need this luck so bad? Girlfriend problems? Liver failure?

Sam: Accursed by God.
Fortuna: Life's a bitch, then you die.
Dean: The God... literally cursed us.
Fortuna: You've met?
Dean: Yeah. Little guy, squirrelly as hell.

Fortuna: Yeah, that's him. Well, welcome to the club.
Fortuna: You little minx. You got me talking. You're good.
Sam: I learned from my brother.
Fortuna: What is with you and these losers?! They're nothing! They don't matter!

Sam: They matter to me.

Dean: They matter to us.
Evie: She... She shut it down.

Sam: What?!
Dean: Why?
Evie: Because of you. She said she thought your kind had gone extinct.
Sam: Our kind?

Evie: Heroes. Like the old days. And, uh, she gave me a message. She said, "Don't play his game. Make him play yours."
Jack: Every day I wanted to come home, but... I couldn't.

Dean: Why not?
Jack: Because if I don't stay hidden, if I use my powers, my grandfather - He'll know I'm back, and He'll try and kill me... again. He's afraid of me. And that's why we had to wait.
Castiel: Billie kept him hidden in the Empty until Chuck went off-world.
Jack: She let me out when it was safe.
Dean: Safe to what? Eat a bunch of angel hearts?

Jack: Safe to do what I have to. The hearts, they were just the beginning. They made me strong, but I-I'm not strong enough. I... If I do exactly what she says, if I follow her plan, then I'll get stronger and... I'll be able to kill God.

Trivia & References

When Dean opened a case file in the previous spring on Jack, he used the FBI alias "C. Watts". Charlie Watts has been the drummer for the Rolling Stones since 1963. Castiel uses the alias "Agent Lizzo", Lizzo is an American singer-songwriter and rapper. Castiel's use of her name continues his trend of using modern popstars as aliases.
Dean: What can we get for, uh, $4.60?

Waitress: Um, a slice of pie and a cup of coffee?
Dean: Of course. Two forks? Damn it, I was hoping for a cheeseburger.
Sam: You can't even digest cheese anymore.
Dean: Dude. Lactaid.

Lactaid is a brand of pills containing the enzyme lactase. People who are lactose-intolerant (like poor powered-down Dean) can ingest lactase immediately before a meal containing dairy to avoid unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects.
Waitress: Um, forget it. It sounds nuts.

Dean: Nuts is good. Yeah. A couple of Mr. Freakin' Peanuts here.

Mr Peanut was the top hat- and monocle-wearing peanut that was the mascot of the Planters snack food company. Coincidentally, just before the episode aired, a teaser for an upcoming SuperBowl ad suggested that Mr Peanut may die.
The name given by the sheriff for the Grigori killed by Jack was Sariel. Sariel is a fallen watcher angel in lore, whose name translates to "Prince of God." While not named in the episode, closed captioning revealed that the final Grigori's name was Kabaiel, who is considered the fourth of the twenty leaders of the 200 fallen watcher angels, and whose name translates to "Star of God."
Dean: Alright, so, we need to minimize our risk and maximize our profit, right? It's kind of like that action we took back in Tallahassee. Remember that? The-the-the "Fast Eddie"?

Sam: I don't remember.
Dean: It was Dad's favorite, from the movie. Paul Newman. "The Hustler."
Sam: Alright, fine. One more game. One.
Dean: Okay. Now we just gotta find our Jackie Gleason.

The Hustler is a 1963 film about pool hustling starring Paul Newman as "Fast Eddie" Felson, a small-time hustler who seeks out legendary pool player "Minnesota Fats" (played by Jackie Gleason).
Fortuna: When I play someone, I get a read on them. And you -- you're just a beach read. Sexy, mm, but skimmable.

Dean: Beach read? Lady, I'm Tolstoy.

A beach read is a fun, easy, light novel to read while on vacation. Leo Tolstoy was a 19th-century Russian novelist and philosopher, often cited as one of the greatest novelists of all time.
Fortuna: You're going to fight God. That's the stuff of heroes, right? So, you're going to need the luck of heroes - Hercules, Cú Chulainn, Gilgamesh. I helped them all. I can help you too.
Hercules is a hero from Roman mythology; Cú Chulainn is a hero of Irish legends best known for defending Ulster from the armies of queen Medb of Connacht, and Gilgamesh was a king in ancient Sumeria whose exploits are documented in the "Epic of Gilgamesh".
Fortuna explains that when humans evolved, they first prayed to the "sun, the womb, the rain, and the stars". This made God mad that humans didn't worship Him, but then He decided to create the "gods" -- Fortuna cites "Ra, Hera, Anu, and Mixcoatl and all the rest," whom humans would blame when things went wrong. But God got jealous of the epic stories humans told about the gods so now He "hides behind" whichever religion is the most popular.

Minutiae

Lynda Boyd, who played Fortuna, previously played Jennifer O'Brien in 8.20 Pac-Man Fever.
Stephen Huszer, who played Pax, previously played Demon #1 in 10.03 Soul Survivor.
Rob Bruner, who played Leonard, previously played Mr. Witherspoon in 2.11 Playthings.
Jason Burkart, who played Vikings Fan, previously played Truck Driver in 8.16 Remember the Titans.
Jensen and Jared did all the pool shots in the episode. Jensen made the scoop jump shot to sink the 8-ball in a single take.
Fortuna's bar is called "Lurlene's".
Dean once again fails to get his pie after the Impala gets a flat tire.
It's revealed that at some point the previous spring, possibly after Mary's death, Dean used one of his FBI aliases to open up a file on Jack, making him wanted by the FBI. The file states that there are multiple charges pending and Jack is to be considered armed and dangerous. Jack is listed as being 5'10", 140 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes, no known aliases, and an unknown date of birth.
When they stop at the diner, Dean says he ate the last of the sandwiches while Sam was sleeping. Dean could have meant the grilled cheese sandwiches Bess made in 15.10 The Heroes' Journey, which he could have eaten with Lactaid, or sandwiches they could have prepared in the Bunker before shipping off to Alaska.
Continuity error: Castiel remembers Tamiel explaining about the angel swords and the Grigori. However, Tamiel told Sam this, not Castiel, who was not even on the property when this conversation occurred.
Sam: At first, I thought maybe these coins were, were hexed or cursed.

Dean: Like the rabbit's foot?
Sam: When you win, you're, you're taking luck from whoever you beat, right?

A reference to the cursed rabbit's foot from 3.03 Bad Day at Black Rock.
Jared and Tom, Shep, and Odette, along with dogs Arlo and Kodo, watch "The Gamblers"

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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