Sam and Dean are worried about Bobby, as he struggles with his grief over Rufus' death. Sam finds a series of unusual deaths among related people in Pennsylvania, but Bobby isn't interested and tells them to leave him alone. As they pack up Dean's Mustang, they're worried about Bobby, but take comfort in knowing Ellen will be home soon. Ellen gets home to Bobby -- she's been hunting with Jo for a week. She commiserates with Bobby over Rufus' death and fusses about his drinking. Bobby grudgingly accepts her care and Ellen teases that it's why he married her.
Sam and Dean check out the scene of one of the deaths and find no clues other than a thread of pure gold on the ground. As Sam checks out genealogy records, Dean visits another of the relatives who's still living - Shawn Russo - but all they learn is that the victims' ancestors arrived in America in 1912. Travel agent Anne Witting is busy at work selling holidays to Cuba when time freezes, and a blonde woman appears and places Amy's car keys under the photocopier. When time starts again, Anne looks for her keys, and when she goes to retrieve them her scarf is caught in the copier and strangles her. After Anne dies, the blonde woman reappears with a book in her arms. She opens it on a list of names, and a thread of gold falls from the bookmark. She then crosses Anne Witting's name out and leaves.
After the brothers investigate the scene, Dean calls Ellen, who reports that there have been 75 similar deaths nationwide. They all appear to be freak accidents and gold threads have been found at the scenes. Jo and her crew is looking into a cluster of deaths in California, and the only common factor they've found between the victims is that their forebears all arrived in 1912 on the Titanic, a passenger steamship that none of them have heard of. After further investigation, Sam finds that on its maiden journey across the Atlantic, the Titanic nearly hit an iceberg. Disaster was averted, however, by the first mate - the suspiciously named I.P. Freely. He finds a photo of the crew, and I.P. Freely is revealed to be the angel Balthazar.
The brothers summon Balthazar, who claims that he went back to time to stop the Titanic from sinking because he hated the movie "Titanic" and the song "My Heart Will Go On." When Sam asks how he could change history, Balthazar states that there are no more rules. Aside from all the passengers he saved whose descendants would never have been born, he acknowledges some other changes - Sam and Dean don't drive an Impala, and Ellen and Jo are alive. When Sam and Dean point out that something is killing the descendants of the Titanic passengers, about 50,000 people, Balthazar states he doesn't care and disappears. The boys call Bobby, who has worked out that the Fates are responsible. Apparently, they're trying to counter the changes Balthazar's actions bought about. Bobby suggests they convince Balthazar to resink the Titanic, but when Dean reveals that Ellen and Jo would die, Bobby tells them to do everything they can to not let that happen.
The next day Sam and Dean try to speak to Shawn Russo, but he gets hit by a bus and killed. Sam notices a woman watching from a nearby building, and, thinking that she could be Fate, they pursue her. They're standing in a dark kitchen when she stops time and opens all the gas valves in the room. When time restarts, Dean's flashlight dies, and he takes out his lighter. When it sparks, the gas ignites... But Castiel appears at the last second and transports the boys to safety. He tells them that Fate is angry at them because, in averting the Apocalypse, they rendered her obsolete. Then, by "dangling themselves in front of her," Dean and Sam made her even more angry, and Castiel says that she likely won't stop until they're dead. They will need to kill her using a weapon Balthzar has, and Sam suggests that they use themselves as bait.
As Ellen tells Bobby, Jo has tracked another 30 deaths on the west coast. Ellen suggests they need the angels to sink the boat, so Bobby reveals that she and Jo's lives are at stake, as well. Back in Chester, Sam and Dean try and go about their business -- anxious at the possibility of death at every turn. Finally, a piece of machinery falls from a building, but Castiel stops time before it crushes them. The blonde woman appears and confronts Castiel. She is Atropos -- one of the three Fates -- and she is angry that fate no longer has a role and that everything is in chaos since the Apocalypse was averted. She also charges that Castiel ordered Balthazar to avert the Titanic disaster so that there would be 50,000 souls in existence that otherwise wouldn't be, and intimates this is part of his war effort. Castiel doesn't admit anything, but she says she will kill Sam and Dean if Castiel doesn't sink the ship. Changing the future is one thing, but changing the past in the last straw. Castiel in turn threatens to kill her, and she reminds him that she has two very powerful sisters who will go after Sam and Dean if she dies. Just as Balthazar is about to kill her, Castiel stops him and agrees to sink the Titanic again.
Sam and Dean wake up in the Impala back at Bobby's place, with Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" playing on the radio. They both think they have had the same dream, but Cas appears and reveals that what happened was real. He wants them to remember so they know who Fate is, and so that they know Castiel is fighting for freedom from destiny. Then, when Dean asks, he tells him that Balthazar really did change history because he didn't like the movie "Titanic," revealing nothing about his possible war plans. Inside, Bobby lies asleep on the couch. Sam and Dean look at him sadly, knowing what he's lost. Dean covers him with a blanket and they let him sleep.
Bobby: You know when I knew Rufus was done for? The day I met him. The only question was, who first -- him or me? Now, you want to stand there and therapise, or you want to get me some coffee? Make it Irish.
Sam: Why would a handyman have gold just lying around in his garage?
Dean: I don't know. There is definitely a skeleton in this family's closet. I mean, accidents don't just happen accidentally... You know what I mean.
Good. Good stuff. Anyone own a slave?
Dean: Routine question. Any ties to the Nazi Party?
Russo: Excuse me?
Did grandma ever piss off a gypsy?
Wait, so you saved a cruise liner because...
Balthazar: Because that God-awful Celine Dion song made me want to smite myself.
Sam: Who's Celine Dion?
Oh, she's a destitute lounge singer somewhere in Quebec, and let's keep it that way, please.
Ah, yes. Unfortunately, there's still an Ashton Kutcher. And you still averted the Apocalypse, and there are still archangels. It's just the small details that are different, like you don't drive an Impala. Yes, yes. 'What's an Impala?' Trust me, it's not important. And, of course, Ellen and Jo are alive.
Dean: Ellen and Jo? What?
Yes, they're supposed to be dead. You see, I save a boat, one thing leads to another, which leads to another thousand things, and yada, yada, yada. To cut a long story short, they don't die in a massive explosion. Mmm. Anyway, let's agree I did a good thing. One less Billy Zane movie and I saved two of your closest friends.
What'd she look like?
Sam: Kind of like a librarian.
Dean: Your kind of librarian or my kind of librarian?
Well, she was wearing clothes, if that's what you mean.
What did we do?
Castiel: Nothing of import -- just the tiny matter of averting the Apocalypse and rendering her obsolete. I think maybe she's a little irritated about that. And then you go and dangle yourselves in front of her...
So we've pissed fate off personally.
Yeah, you ever hear the saying 'you can't stop fate'? You know, cleanest fix would just be to sink the boat.
Bobby: Why would you say that?
Well, because, right now they're all dying bloody. It's not the same as never being born.
Dean: So, wait. Did... Balthazar really, uh, unravel the sweater over a chick flick?
Castiel: Yes. Absolutely. That's what he did.
Poor bastard. Doesn't even know how good he had it.
Dean: Yeah, well, what he doesn't know won't hurt him. I say we keep our mouths shut.
Sam: Yeah. I'm with you. Should we wake him?
Nah. That's probably the best he's felt all week.
The episode title "My Heart Will Go On" refers to the Celine Dion song of the same name which was the theme song for the 1997 movie Titanic. Jensen once did an ad for Titanic-related merchandise. The Titanic was also referenced visually in 1.19 Provenance when a newspaper is held up showing an article they are looking for in relation to the MotW. The lead story on the same page is the sinking of the Titanic. The movie Titanic is also referenced in 4.10 Heaven and Hell when Dean and Anna have sex in the Impala. The image of Anna's hand streaking down the foggy car window is reminiscent of the iconic scene from Titanic when Jack and Rose are having sex.
This episode may also be a reference to the 2000 horror film Final Destination. In both cases, the plot involves people who managed to avoid their fated death and now are dying in other ways. Some of the death scenes in the episode are strikingly similar to those of the film. For example, the scene in which the lawyer Shawn Russo is killed by a speeding bus is very similar to the scene in which Terry, from Final Destination, dies.
Other Titanic references:
- The episode was aired on the 99th anniversary of the date the Titanic sank.
- The travel agency is called E.J. Smith, who was the captain of the Titanic.
- Sam and Dean stay at the White Star Motel - the White Star Line was the name of the company that owned the Titanic.
- Sam uses a Wikipedia-like site called "Marconi Pages" named after Guglielmo Marconi the inventor of radio. The radio operators on the Titanic were employed by his company and were vital in relief efforts. Britain's postmaster-general later said "Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi...and his marvelous invention." Source.
- From the Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 6 - everyone is drinking Astor Cola, named after businessman John Astor who died on the ship.
- While Sam was researching about the Titanic, the picture "Officers of the RMS Titanic", with Balthazar as First Mate I.P. Freely, is actually the picture of the captain and officers of RMS Carpathia which is the passenger steamship famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic (Source).
The opening was very reminiscent of the opening of The Simpsons
episode "Mobile Homer
" where Homer gets caught under the garage door (he's drinking beer in the garage - chases a spider, gets his head covered by spiders, then sprays bug spray in his face/eyes, trips on a skateboard and falls with his leg bent at an unnatural angle under the garage door. While trying to kill a spider by throwing a magazine at it, he accidentally hits the garage door control which triggers the door to come down on his throat several times.)
The first of Atropos
' victims is nearly killed by falling on a pair of gardening shears. This could be a reference to Atropos' "abhorred shears" which she used to cut the metaphorical threads of life in mythology.
What, no severed horse head?
- The Russos are from Calabria, an area in Southern Italy which has a mafia-like organization known as Ndrangheta. In the 1972 movie about the mafia in New York, The Godfather, a severed horse's head is placed in the bed of a movie producer as a threat. (Although the family in the Godfather is from Sicily, not Calabria. This quote is an example of stereotyping all Italians as being involved with the mob.)
If these people are the Waltons, then why the hell are they dying?
- The Waltons was the name of the eponymous family in a book movie and most famously a 70's TV series. The family is so wholesome and nice they make the Brady Bunch look like the Mansons.
When he went back in time to stop the Titanic sinking, Balthazar
went by the joke name I.P. Freely, and was the first officer. The actual first officer of the Titanic was William McMaster Murdoch
, and he was in command when the boat struck the iceberg.
Oh come on. I saved people. I thought you loved that kind of thing.
Sam: Yeah, but now those people and their kids and their kids' kids, they must have interacted with - with so many other people, changed so much crap. You totally Butterfly-Effected history!
Dean: Dude. Dude. Rule one, no Kutcher references.
- The Butterfly Effect is a concept from chaos theory, where a small change in one part of a non-linear system can cause a large change in another part of the system. it was dubbed the butterfly effect from the title of the 1972 paper by Edward Lorenz "Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?" Ashton Kutcher starred in a 2004 movie of the same name about a man who could travel to his own past.
Well, riddle me this -- if fate's going after the boat people, why'd she try to waste me and Sam?
- "Riddle me this" is the catchphrase of the DC Comics super villain the Riddler, an enemy of Batman.
Wow. Well, might be time to take away his cable privileges. Besides, Titanic
didn't suck that bad. (Sam gives Dean a look) Winslet's rack.
- A reference to the iconic scene from Titanic, when Jack sketches a nude portrait Rose, played by Kate Winslet.