The episode starts by showing Dean as a young boy. Playing in a field, he finds a ladybug on a flower. Excited, he runs to his house to show it to his pregnant mother, Mary, but before he reaches the house, he trips and falls. As Mary comes over to check on him, the ladybug flies away into the sky. Dean hugs his mother and says that he's glad he'll have a little brother soon. Mary tells him that she's sure he'll take good care of his new brother. She wishes that the happiness she feels now could last forever. Her eyes move over to where her husband, John, is washing the family car where she stops and allows her gaze to focus in on him as he continues to wash the car. Dean looks up to see what's got her attention and watches in horror as Mary's face morphs before his eyes, turning from a serene beauty into a hideous ghostly figure...
Dean wakes up from his nightmare. It takes him a moment to get his bearings and soon realizes that he's laying in a hospital bed located in a hospital room. Dean arises from the bed and is standing up when in walks Sam. Without acknowledging Dean, he walks past him and heads straight to the bed where he gazes into... Dean's sleeping face and we realize that he's not asleep but is actually in a coma.
Sam goes to speak with Dean's doctor who informs him that Dean's condition is deteriorating. Upset, Sam leaves his brother's room to speak to his father, John, who happens to be a patient in an adjoining room. He repeats what the doctor told him and says they're running out of time and that they have to do something soon. John appears to be more concerned about the welfare of the Colt and reminds Sam that the war against the yellow-eyed demon, Azazel, isn't over. Sam tells his father that the gun is fine, safely stowed in the trunk of the Impala. John tells him he must first get Bobby and then the two of them are to retrieve the Colt and bring it to him at the hospital. As Sam turns to leave, John hands him a piece of paper listing two arcane items he also wants and says Bobby will know how to obtain them. When Sam asks why he wants them, John replies he needs them to stave off a demon.
At the junkyard, Sam and Bobby inspect the wrecked Impala. Bobby says the car is totaled but Sam disagrees, insisting that rather than replace the car, they need to repair it and that it needs to be restored for Dean's sake. Bobby argues that that is foolish because Dean will most likely never recover but Sam refuses to hear it and instead hands John's list to Bobby. After seeing what the items are, Bobby asks Sam if he's sure he heard John correctly because neither of these items will help in warding off a demon.
At the hospital, John goes to Dean's room. Dean's spirit asks John to help and reunite him with his body. He begs John for his help, even dropping to his knees, his pleas becoming cries of frustration.
John has just gone back to his own room when Sam returns. Confronting John, Sam declares that he knows the ingredients he asked for aren't to keep a demon away but are actually used to summon a demon. He figures that John plans to summon Azazel in order to kill him and is furious that his father is more concerned with Azazel than he is with Dean. John angrily points out that if Sam had shot Azazel with the Colt when he was possessing John, Dean would still be fine. As they argue, Dean, who has been watching them the entire time, angrily slams his hand down on a nearby table... knocking John's journal onto the floor.
As Sam and John stare at the journal, Dean gasps and clutches at his chest. Realizing what the source of his pain is, he goes back to his hospital room and finds the doctors surrounding his bed frantically trying to revive his stopped heart. As Sam enters to see whats going on, Dean notices a ghostly Reaper hovering over his body. Yelling at it to leave, it turns and glares at him but then floats away out of the room. As the doctor's revive Dean's body, Dean tells Sam that he's not going anywhere and pats his brother on the shoulder... and Sam feels his touch.
Dean chases after the Reaper but loses it in the hospital's corridors. He does notice another spirit like himself. Tessa, she replies when asked for her name, is a young woman who bears a striking resemblance to a young Mary Winchester. She explains that like Dean, her spirit is no longer tethered to her badly burned body which is in a nearby hospital bed. As they visit, they venture out of the hospital and go up on the roof where Tessa explains that there's nothing the doctors can do for her body and that she's just waiting for death to come. She accepts the inevitable and believes this is her destiny. She elaborates that she's never really had a normal life because she was always so sickly. This causes Dean to reflect on his own less-than-normal life and how he spent almost all of his youth training to be a hunter under John's tutelage. Tessa takes his hand and says it sounds like his life has been a hard one and that he's earned the right to rest. Death would be so peaceful, she tells him, and Dean actually starts to consider how nice it would be to stop resisting and just welcome it. But then, out of the corner of his eye, he notices a ladybug as it crawls upon a nearby flower and then suddenly flies away. This stirs something within Dean and he realizes he's not ready to go just yet. He informs Tessa that it is his destiny and that he alone should decide what happens to it. Recharged with this decision, he bids her goodbye and runs back inside the the hospital.
Sam goes to Dean's room and turns on his laptop. Speaking out loud, he calls out his brother's name. If he can hear him, Sam continues, let him know by using the computer's keys to communicate. Dean concentrates and is able to type "Sammy" on the computer screen. He then proceeds to tell him time is running out and that a Reaper has arrived to hunt him down. Although alarmed, Sam refuses to accept that it's over for his brother and goes to inform John he's made contact with Dean only to discover that John has checked himself out and has already left the hospital. Meanwhile, John has just arrived at a nearby church. He opens its doors and enters it.
Back at the hospital, Sam looks for his father's journal. Finding it, he opens it and pages through it, looking for a specific journal entry. He finds the entry and begins to read what John had written down about Reapers. According to John's notes, Reapers can change their appearance at will. Often, they'll appear to their victims disguised as someone the victim knows and trusts and try to convince the victim to accept their death and not resist and thereby making the reap easier. Dean, reading over Sam's shoulder, realizes that Tessa was actually a Reaper.
In the church, John uses the ingredients to summon Azazel.
Back at the hospital, a belligerent Dean returns to the rooftop to confront Tessa. He then proceeds to tell the Reaper she might as well give up and leave insisting that he will never accept his death. The Reaper replies that that he's played his part and it's time to accept his fate.
At that moment, Azazel strides into the church and approaches the waiting John, Colt drawn and ready. Amused, Azazel dares him to try and use the last bullet to kill him. However, John lowers the Colt and says that he's summoned the demon to make a deal: Dean's life in exchange for the Colt.
Meanwhile, Dean stubbornly refuses to give in to which Tessa concedes yes, he can choose not be reaped and remain there in as a spirit. A spirit that will eventually become a doomed angry ghost, trapped between life and death with no way out for all eternity.
Inside the hospital, a weeping Sam sits at Dean's side and begs him to hang on.
Back at the church, Azazel considers John's offer. He admits that it is rather clever and asks if John knows about Sam's secret. John answers that he's known for a while. Azazel decides to accept John's proposal, on one condition...
Back on the roof, Tessa tells Dean that time's up and he must make a decision and choose between life and death.
Azazel's condition is that John must give him the Colt in person.
On the roof, the sky suddenly turns red. Tessa looks up in horror just as Azazel flows into her body. Possessed by the demon, she turns back to Dean saying he should be grateful and then touches his forehead. There's a flash of white and Dean finds himself back in his body, alive. A stunned Sam stares at him in shock. Finally, after processing what just happened, he runs out of the room to get the doctors.
It's the following day. Dean tells Sam that he can't remember everything that happened to him while he was dead but he's sure about one thing; something is not right. In comes John and explains he left in order to take care of some things and insists it wasn't to kill Azazel. Sam counters that he doesn't believe him to which John replies he's had enough and that he's tired of fighting with his sons. He apologizes for not being a better father to them but says that he did his best. This is so out of character that his sons wonder what's going on and ask why he's acting so strangely. John replies that he's thirsty and asks Sam to get him some water.
Once Sam leaves, John turns to Dean and asks him if he remembers the times when he would return from a hunt, totally exhausted yet still wanting to see his sons. Dean recalls telling his father that when he grew up, he would join him and hunt monsters. John thanks Dean for keeping his word, despite his desire to just have a normal life like everyone else. He apologizes for forcing Dean to grow up so fast and asks if he would continue to take care of Sam. After Dean agrees, John begins to sob. John tells Dean that he's so proud of him and wraps his arms around him. Hugging him, John whispers something into his ear and then walks out of the room... and back into the church where Azazel is waiting for him.
Sam returns to Dean's room with some water and wonders where John has gone.
John tells Azazel, "Just take it"... and at the hospital, his life signs end. Time of Death - 10:41 A.M.
Written by Gadfly on May 22, 2016