Let's get this started, shall we?
The "Then" reminds us that Rowena turned an enemy into a small animal, the Stynes are after a "book of unspeakable evil," Dean's going to turn into a demon unless the Mark is removed, and Sam, in an example of what Bobby calls "doin' a little bad so you can do a lot of good," pretended to burn the evil book but instead asked Rowena to help him, ignoring Bobby's warning that "sometimes the bad's real bad, and the good can come at one hell of a price."
We start with a redhead (AND NOTHING GOOD HAS HAPPENED TO REDHEADS THIS SEASON, JUST SAYING) meeting a man with Benny's accent (although it comes and goes), and we know it can't be good. And it's not, because she gets her throat slashed and her eyes scooped out by a guy who flees the scene by jumping out a three-story window. Next!
Sam is pissed at Rowena because she's been chained up with the codex for days, and she hasn't come up with anything. She says the codex itself is in code (so the book was a double layer of code and now the codex is code... I think we need Benedict Cumberbatch in here) and Sam's not taking any of her nonsense. I like these two together more and more, and I like this angry, driven version of Sam.
(I also like Sam's nose. But we all know that.)
Then we see the eye-scooping Styne (Eldon? Elton?) being lectured by his father, and the only relevant things from this scene are that (a) Jacob is well and truly dead (sob), and (b) the Stynes never leave witnesses, and they certainly don't leave bodies behind. And they don't know where the Book is, so I guess they've lost their nifty tracking device. Eldon/Elton is ordered to clean up his mess and hunt down the Winchesters, while his cousin Eli is reminded that he's supposed to be tracking Charlie down.
Back at the bunker, Dean is researching eye-scoop girl when Sam enters, and Dean comments on how bad he looks, wondering if there's a woman, since he's not sleeping much and running off on his own a lot.
I do that.
You actually don't.
Dean obviously suspects something is up, and Sam tries to change the subject by asking about his research. Dean's been looking into the Styne family, and they're responsible for all sorts of horrible things, probably including disco (hee), but the research stops in the 1800s. And apparently him finding out about eye-scoop girl is just a coincidence. Dean says he's going to bed and Sam should too, but instead Sam sneaks out in another really crappy car (why, Sam? why not use one the classic cars in the garage? why not buy your own? why not go back to that awesome old truck?) to meet Charlie.
Sam explains what he needs Charlie to do, and that he still has the Book, and that Dean doesn't know. Charlie's not thrilled about the idea (and this is the point where my completely unspoiled self said "something bad's going to happen to Charlie") but Sam pulls this face and she has no choice.
Rowena's not thrilled either, although maybe it's the obvious product placement of Charlie's MICROSOFT BRAND SURFACE TABLET that annoys her. When Cas shows up, he finds out Sam intends for him to stay there and protect the work from Rowena.
I can't be here full time to referee.
And I can?
But Cas also succumbs to the power of the puppy dog eyes, even while reminding Sam that keeping secrets "never ends well." The expanded version of Team Free Will agrees to do this "for Dean." Seems like there should have been a group cheer at this point, or maybe a montage set to an inspiring song.
Meanwhile, in Hell on Earth, Crowley is playing darts with a human dartboard when he finds that the minions who were keeping an eye on Rowena have lost her. Interesting... either he's not as done with her as we thought, or he's concerned about what she might do to him and wants her monitored.
Sam and Dean show up at the site of the eyeball scooping, and the security footage shows a remarkably detailed view of the scooper's tattoo - the Styne family crest. While they're interviewing the building manager, or whatever he is, Sam gets a call from Cas, telling Dean it was a telemarketer. Dean obviously does not believe this, probably because Sam is such an awful liar. Seriously, for someone who is basically a professional liar, he's remarkably bad when it comes to lying to Dean. And then Eldon/Elton Styne shows up to kill the witness.
Back at Sam's secret code-breaking dungeon, which it turns out is an abandoned distillery, Rowena and Charlie are getting snippy with each other, and Cas's offering of pork rinds doesn't help. Charlie asks about the nun who wrote the Book of the Damned, and the only part of Rowena's story that seems relevant is that she knew that to remove one curse, you had to place another, and that you cannot have good without evil. Rowena then says that she and Charlie are very similar, except for Charlie's unfortunate blind devotion to the Winchesters. Charlie points out that Sam and Dean are like her brothers, and hey, you know who was welcomed into the Winchester family last year? Kevin. But I'm sure that doesn't mean anything. And Rowena saying Charlie's "steadfast loyalty will be your undoing" is just, you know, girl talk. Means nothing. Let's carry on.
In the car, Sam is actually eating, which is unusual. They're talking about the Stynes, and Dean is glad they burned the book, because "at least they can't get their mitts on that." And Sam continues to be a very bad liar. Dean, on the other hand, continues his truthful streak, admitting to dark thoughts, creepy visions, and violent urges. Same old same old. Neither of them notices the Styne (Eli? Or the other one? These guys are too similar. And I miss Jacob.) following them.
Apparently E. Styne follows them to the bunker but doesn't do anything, because we see Dean answering Sam's phone when Cas calls. And how Cas doesn't recongize Dean's voice is beyond me. We see that Cas has also lost his ability to lie when he claims to just be "staying in touch, like I do," and then ends the call because "my ride's here." Now, Cas could have easily weasled out of this by "admitting" he's calling Sam to ask how Dean's doing. That would have been completely believable. When Sam shows up, Dean innocently asks if he's talked to Cas recently, and Sam does a bad, bad job of denying it (and again, Sam could have "admitted" to talking about Dean behind his back, but he's not sneaky enough.)
Crowley, meanwhile, is talking to the small animal formerly known as Olivette the Witch, trying to get the dirt on his mother. He learns something interesting about a demon lover and sends a minion to find him.
Dean has gone to fetch a pizza at skeeviest pizza place ever, with an entrance on an alley that bears a striking resemblance to the alley we saw in the last episode. (Did he drive all the way to Tulsa to fetch this pizza?) He's accosted by a couple of Stynes and manages to capture one of them - the same one who was following him in the Impala. So, did this guy sit outside the bunker waiting for Dean to come out, and then follow him to the pizza place? Why not break into the bunker, since that's where the book would be if he were hiding it? Did he lose Dean and give up, slinking back to the skeeviest pizza place in Tulsa to drown his sorrows in fake cheese and cheap beer?
Dean has the Styne cuffed by one arm in the dungeon, and he seems a little too eager to "question" the guy. E. Styne monologues evilly about his evil powerful family. Sam gets a call from Cas in the middle of this and leaves to answer, which means Dean is all alone with Styne when he explains that they're experts in bioengineering. Styne has two hearts (and there's your SuperWho crossover, folks), extra muscles, etc. Oh, and the real family name? (Styne takes a very long, evil time to get to this part, and the whole time I was thinking "please don't say Hitler, please please don't say Hitler, that would be the stupidest plot twist on earth if these guys are descended from Hitler.") The real family name is Frankenstein. Duh duh DUUHHHH!!!!! But the bigger revelation is that the Book of the Damned has not been destroyed - it can't be destroyed. And therefore, anyone who says he did destroy it is a liar. Well. Isn't that interesting.
At the distillery, Charlie is complaining to Cas that Rowena is annoying and evil, and she needs to get away for an hour or so. Cas calls Sam, who tells him to separate the bickering redheads, but not to let Charlie leave, and not to let Rowena out of his sight. Sam is then confronted by no-longer-taking-your-nonsense Dean, but he only gets to "let me ask you something" before they hear a noise in the dungeon and run back to find Styne's gnawed-off arm, hanging solo from the handcuff. Eeeewwwwww. (Dean says "he ripped it off," but if he'd ripped it, it would have come off at his wrist, I think, not mid-forearm, so I'm going with gnawing. Accuracy is important.)
Cas takes Rowena into a separate room, where they discuss betrayal and parenting and Cas finds out she is Crowley's mother. When he returns to the main room, Charlie and her MICROSOFT BRAND SURFACE LAPTOP are gone.
One-arm Styne gets a call from the other Styne, who is lurking outside Charlie's hotel (The Blackbird Motel, which couldn't possibly be a bad sign, could it?). Luckily his phone is in his right pocket, or it would have been awkward. We then go to the bunker, where Dean returns from a failed search, saying he saw "a lot of signs, just no him," and apparently Styne's blood trail mysteriously stopped. Did someone pick him up? (Oh, and Sam kindly informs me this one was Elton/Eldon.)
At this point, Dean is completely done, and he gives Sam this awesome little speech.
You know I thought, man, there's a lot of them Stynes, it's like alpha male syndrome. And then I thought, and this is key, I thought, this is bad, but it would really blow if these guys had the book. At least they don't have the damn book. At least the damn book burned. Right, Sam? But then Eldon Frankenstein, he hits me with this little fun fact. He says the book can't be destroyed. He says that it can't be sliced, diced, shredded, burned, drowned. Cannot be destroyed. Isn't that crazy? Because I know I saw something burn.
He's calm and menacing and Sam gets more and more nervous and this is a scene I'm going to need to watch more than once.
Luckily for Sam (spoiler alert: no it's not), the phone rings. Calm menacing Dean says "Sam, you answer that, so help me," (and my heart skips a beat) but Sam does answer, and it's a panicky Cas telling him Charlie is gone.
In her crappy hotel room, Charlie is having no luck finding a pattern, unaware that three arms worth of Stynes are creeping toward her. Just as she does hit on something, one-armed Styne beats on her door (with his stump, ewww), just under the lucky blackbird. Charlie grabs her MICROSOFT BRAND SURFACE TABLET and runs to the bathroom. Dean is yelling at Sam about getting Charlie involved in this "again" (and that seems unfair; Charlie involved herself the first time - she's the one who volunteered to go to Italy to find the book) when she calls Sam and tells him someone is here and they think she has the Book. Sam and Dean both tell her to give the bad guys whatever they want, as she uploads whatever she found, and she says she can't do that. Instead, she smashes her MICROSOFT BRAND SURFACE TABLET on the sink, which she really shouldn't have done. One, because it lets one-armed Styne know she's in the bathroom, and two, they know what's in the book anyway, right, so what's the point of hiding it from them? (And three, breaking the screen isn't going to destroy the data anyway. You should know that, Charlie.) But now she's got a bloody Styne in the bathroom door demanding "what's mine," and all she has is a knife. And two arms, but still.
Sam and Dean race to the Bird of Unpleasant Omens Motel, with Dean berating Sam for getting Charlie and Cas involved, and Sam uses the L word. "Charlie loves you, Dean! We all love you!" (sob!) I was unspoiled for this episode, so when they get to the hotel, I assume she'll be missing, and the most interesting part of this scene will be Wet!Sam (because damn, is it interesting).
But instead, he gets to the bathroom door and just breaks down, because apparently Charlie was eating some celebratory pie in the bathroom, and she slipped and fell and got pie all over her. Boy, they're gonna laugh about this tomorrow. We all are.
Yeah, I know some of you think Charlie is dead, but the Stynes made a big deal about never leaving a body behind. So she can't be dead. I mean, sure, they said "when they're harvested," but still. I'm pretty sure all of that red splatter is just pie.
Obviously, the parallel we're going for here is that this year's Sam is last year's Dean. And there is a lot of that going, but in some very important ways, Sam's lies are different from Dean's lies:
1. Dean knew of the plan to find a cure in the Book of the Damned, and he was an active participant, until it got to be too much for him. He didn't disapprove of the plan itself, he just didn't think they could make it work. On the other hand, he knew from the start that Sam would never go along with his plan to let an angel heal him from the inside.
2. Kevin was an uninvolved victim, but Charlie made an informed choice to work on Sam's plan. Not 100% informed - she didn't know the Stynes were still looking for her and the book - but she knew she was doing something dangerous. In fact, Sam very clearly told her the risks. I'm not saying she deserved to die, I'm not saying Sam is blameless. I'm just saying that she's not a perfect analogy for completely-uninformed Kevin.
3. Sam didn't want to be saved. Sam knew he was dying and accepted it. Dean wants to be saved, and even if he doesn't, letting him turn into a demon isn't really an option.
I'm unspoiled as always, please help me stay that way. Also, I'd prefer not to have any Sam hate in the comments. Complaining about a beloved character who did something he shouldn't is fine. Sam hate is not. Thanks!