Outside of Grand Junction, Colorado, Evan and his friend Shawn Raider climb over a fence and approach an abandoned mental hospital. Evan figures that they're going to get a lot of hits, and enters the house with Evan following him. Shawn doesn't want to hear stories about how the head doctor used to cut people's skulls in, and Evan figures that he's scared. When Shawn denies it, Evan says that they can look around if he's not afraid. They continue on and find the general room where the patients slept. They come to a door to the main operating room, and Shawn refuses to go in. Evan goads him into following him in, and Shawn finds a series of bird-like masks. Shawn tells Evan to take one, and they hear a noise in the darkness. Shawn says that he's out, and something comes at him and Evan. They both run, and come to a doctor holding a power drill and wearing a mask. He attacks Evan, and Shawn runs out as Evan's screams echo through the night.
At the bunker, Sam comes down to the kitchen and offers Dean a beer. Dean wonders what's up with him. Sam dismisses it as nothing and says that he found a case in Grand Junction. There's a story about Shawn wandering by the side of the road, bleeding from the head. The only word he's said is "monster", and Sam suggests that they check it up. Jack is busy catching up on his fantasy DVDs, and Sam suggests that just the two of them work the case.
Once Dean agrees, the brothers head to Grand Junction and Sam gives Dean the fake ID he usually uses. Shawn's mother Penny answers the door and they ask to speak to her and Shawn. Penny says that Shawn can' talk and it's psychological trauma, like he saw something awful. Dean goes to Shawn's room and finds him sketching pictures of the bird mask.
Penny tells Sam that Evan is still missing. Shawn, Evan, and their friend Mike Ramos are inseparable, and Penny figures that since they did things together, she figures that he knows something.
Dean tells Shawn that he knows what's it like to see monster, and they ever really go away. He says that he and Sam are the guys that scare the monsters, but Shawn has to talk to him.
Later, the Winchesters drive to a hotel and Dean tells Sam that Shawn didn't say anything. Sam suggests that they go to a strip club, much to Dean's surprise. Dean asks why Sam is being so brotherly, and Sam says that he's trying to be nice because of Dean not believing anything. Dean insists that he's fine, and says that he's fought his way back before and will again.
Shawn wakes up screaming and Penny runs in. She tells him that it was a bad dream and should go back to sleep, and Shawn hesitantly lies back down. Once Penny leaves, Shawn hears something in the darkness. The saw starts up and the ghostly doctor appears. He runs at Shawn, who screams.
The next morning, Sam's alarm goes off and he discovers that Dean didn't sleep in his bed. He's on the floor with a woman's brassiere around his neck. Sam gets ready for the day and leaves Dean snoring on the floor. He goes to the Ramos farm, and Mike says that he doesn't know where Shawn and Evan went. Sam doesn't believe him and calls mike on it, and Mike finally says that Evan is hiding out somewhere as a prank. He explains that Shawn and Evan were going to the old Meadows place, and Mike was too scared to go.
Dean is getting complimentary breakfast at the hotel when Sam comes in. When Sam gives him a beer, Dean tells him that he's forgiven for talking too loudly. Sam has discovered that the head of the doctor, Dr. Avery Meadows, lobotomized his patients. He then experimented with those who survived, and when people found out what he was doing, he was tried and executed. There's a photo of Avery's mask, a plague mask, and Dean recognizes it from Shawn's sketches. Meadows was wearing one when they arrested him. Penny calls and tells them that Shawn had a bad dream and seemed that he was getting better. When she went back to her room, it got cold and when she came back in, Shawn was gone.
Outside, Sam worries that he pushed Shawn too heard. The reports said that Meadows was cremated, and Sam figures that Shawn took something from the house. He suggests that if it's Meadows, Meadows too him to the house. that night, the brothers arrive and go inside the house, and Sam picks up Ems. The ghost appears and knocks Sam aside, then knocks the shotgun out of Dean's hands. He prepares to drill into Dean's skull, but Sam hits the ghost with cold iron, temporarily dissipating it.
The Winchesters go upstairs to the operating room where Meadows performed his lobotomies. They figure that Meadows is tied to the masks, and they hear Meadows screaming outside. Sam lays down a salt line to keep Meadows out while Dean burns the masks. The ghost appears and blasts away the salt, but then disappears screaming as Dean burns the masks. The brothers search for Shawn and Sam realizes that it's still cold. Lights explode and the brothers figure that there are most ghosts. The ghosts are all asking for Meadows, and Sam figures that they're not strong enough to pierce the Veil. Dean says that he's going to ask the ghosts where they are by taking out two syringes. He tells Sam that one will stop his heart and one will bring him back. Dean says that Sam should give him three minutes and then injects himself with the first syringe.
Dean is able to see the ghosts and talks to one. A woman, Jessica, tells Dean that she's there to lead him Dean says who he is and brushes past her, and Jessica realizes who he is.
Sam lays down a salt circle around Dean to protect his brother from the ghosts.
Jessica goes to a vast vault and says that Dean is in the veil.
Dean approaches a male ghost patient, who goes through a wall. Shawn comes in and says that he recognizes Dean. and explains that Meadows' ghost entered his body. He put on the mask Shawn took, took Shawn's body to the house, and forced him to drill himself in the head. Dean apologizes, and Shawn says that Evan is there as well and they can't leave.
Sam prepares to bring Dean back after three minutes.
Dean tells Shawn that he's going to help him go to a better place. However, he needs Shawn to tell him where Meadows put the body. Once he gets it, he goes back to his room just as the three minutes elapse. Sam gives Dean's body the second injection, but nothing happens. Billie appears and tells Dean that they need to talk. She tells Dean that one rule of death is that when they kill one incarnation of Death then the next Reaper to die takes his place. When Castiel stabber her, it made her the new Angel of Death.
Billie transports Dean to the room: the vault filled with books. She says that whether Dean is dead depends on him. Billie wants to know how he's been slipping between worlds, and in return for the information he tells Billie to free the ghosts at the house. Billie agrees.
At the house, Jessica tells the ghosts to come with her. they all move on.
Billie tells Dean that it's done, and Dean tells her that when Jack was born, it created a rip into another world. She explains that the last thing she needs is a Winchester knocking down all the dimensions. Billie figures that Dean has changed, pointing out that he could have negotiated for his own release from death. She says that Dean has changed, and he tells people that he'll work through it but he knows that he won't and it scares the hell out of him. Dean figures that it doesn't matter and he doesn't matter, pointing out that he couldn't save Mary or Castiel or Shawn. All he does is drag Sam down, and if it's his time then it's his time. Billie figures that he wants to die, and points out a shelf with all the different versions of how Dean dies. She tells dean that which one is true depends on the choice he makes. Dean says that he made his choice, and Billie explains that none of the books say that he dies that day. Since she got her promotion, she sees a larger picture and she sees Dean and Sam. They're important and have work to do, and that's all dean needs to do. Billie isn't thrilled with the fact that humans like the Winchesters are important. She tells Dean to keep living, and sends Dean back to his body before he can ask if Mary is alive.
The next day, the police remove Shawn's body. Sam comforts Penny as best he can and then asks Dean how he came back. Dean merely says that he got lucky, but Sam wonders what happened to the ghost. After a moment, Dean tells Sam that Billie is death and she took care of the ghosts. He explains what Billie said about how they have work to do, and says that he's pretty far from okay. Dean tells Sam that he's always believed what they did was important, no matter what the cost. Now he just needs a damn win. The brothers get in the Impala and drive off.
Penny looks at her son's body as the coroners bring it out.
Billie looks through the books about Dean's deaths.
Dean's phone rings and he answers it. The Winchesters then drive to the phone booth where Castiel is waiting for them.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 10, 2017