Dean is doing his happy evening hunting and chasing a witch – who blasts him with some woo-woo
He wakes up the next day feeling hung over and unpleasant and has to get Sam in to pick him up while he eats and entire town’s supplies of waffles.
He doesn’t remember what happened last night, much to Sam’s frustration since they are on a case to find out who has murdered and accountant.
As they go back to investigate, Dean has more and more lapses and Sam assumes Dean is still drunk, completely out of it (yet is still happy for Dean to drive? Not cool, Sam). Dean is very shaky, forgetting all kinds of things – like which key is his car key – but Sam’s main take so far is that Dean needs to ease off on the partying since he isn’t 20 any more
Ouch Sam, ouch.
As they investigate Dean seems more and more blurry – and even queasy when they examine the body which has clearly been killed by witches. At this point Sam realises Dean’s memory loss is more than mere alcohol can explain and suspects some definite woo-woo
Who you gonna call? Rowena of course. Because they’re friends now? Whatever, she interrupts her cheating card game to confirm that, yes, there is a very nasty spell that will slowly erase Dean’s memories and he probably has to kill the witch to stop that happening
And soon since Dean forgets the word for “lamp” and Sam starts labelling things with post its.
So they need to find the witch –which means following where Dean wandered last night, helpfully finding a woman he slept with (who was duly furious that he forgot her. Then duly horrified that his memory loss means he may have been drugged. She thinks she may have had sex with someone incapable of consenting. And kudos to Supernatural for recognising the horror of this, that it would be rape and it can happen – yes they almost make a joke of it –but they manage to not run with it as humour). Following the clues they find the witch
Or his body. Yes he’s dead and no the memory spell is not gone. So back to Rowena –who decides to follow up with a visit to reinvestigate. The runes used by the witches point to an ancient druidic family who have an uber powerful book which Rowena wants badly – and they’ll need her to use it to reverse the spell on Dean
Of course Sam doesn’t really trust her on that.
But Dean has degraded a lot. And he’s really funny and cute like this. I wanna Smoosh him. He’s weet and happy and careful and when he hears they hunt monsters (having forgotten everything) he thinks it’s so cool. Honestly this whole portrayal is awesome – Dean without all the Manpain, the angst, the guilt, the anger, the injuries and all the darkness is such a different person and it’s so well done. The acting and feel of this whole thing – and how bright and fun Dean is – is really fun, really cute (I wanna smoosh him) and really sad when we see basically, this is an undamaged Dean. Dean who was never burned through the Hunter’s life. It’s pretty poignant.
Sam goes hunting witches while Rowena babysits Dean
And we have the next emotional moment of this episode – Rowena
While almost bursting Dean’s bubble by pointing out he’s killed people (Dean is saddened and comes down from his super cute mode by this realisation) – but only for the greater good. While she has done anything and everything and justified it because it was for power – because power is everything
But last season she saw god and god’s sister. The most powerful beings in the universe – and they’re consumed by squabbling and unhappiness. If they’re miserable with all that power then what chance does she have? Clearly the whole point of Rowena’s existence – pursue power – has been shaken to its very core. I think we can see a very real character shift from Rowena here
Sam doesn’t do so well against the witches and ends up being kidnapped and prepped for human sacrifice
Surprisingly nor does Rowena – she’s completely outmatched by one of the witches. Given her power that means the druid witches have some pretty massive woo-woo.
Which is when Dean, happily railroaded by many many postits (I love that some of the weapons in his boot have “no” written on them) manages to intervene with the right gun and all the witches end up dead.
Rowena uses the book to cure Dean – and Sam admits they owe her. While also ensuring she doesn’t leave with the book. Of course she tried
But Sam also confronts how very happy and light and free amnesia Dean was… and Dean admits that but also that it wasn’t him. Dean has been forged, for good or bad, by his life – you can’t remove that without removing him even if he is happy like that