supernatural season 15 episode 16
Sam and Dean visit a familiar hotel to finish a case they worked as children, and Sam learns a devastating secret.

On Supernatural Season 15 Episode 16, Sam and Dean respond to a call from an old friend. They return to a hotel they stayed at as children, where they worked a case with two other guests. Meanwhile, Dean debates telling Sam the truth about Jack’s mission.

Unfinished Business

The main focus of the episode is the case at the hotel, which unfolds both in the present and a in a series of flashbacks. In the past, Sam and Dean befriend two other kids staying at the hotel, Caitlin and her younger brother Travis. When Travis is attacked by something in the vending machine, they discover that there is a creature stealing local children.

The Winchesters tell Caitlin and Travis the truth about monsters and the four work the case together. A little quick, considering that sharing the secret with civilians used to be a huge taboo early in the show. Nevertheless, they locate the creature’s nest nearby, where Dean finds a pile of children’s bodies. Later, the creature tries to attack Sam and Travis in their room, but Dean swoops in at the last moment to fight it off. He stabs it, and the creature disappears.

In the present, an adult Travis returns to the hotel to face his fears and is attacked by some kind of spirit. Though it appears to be a suicide, Caitlin calls the Winchesters to investigate, fearing that the thing they killed may be back. At first, Dean assures her that the creature is dead. But after he’s attacked by an apparition of his younger self, he concedes that she may be right.

Sam discovers the story of Baba Yaga, a witch that uses fear to feed on children, and whose powers are tied to an ornate ring. Dean damaged the ring as a teen, which is how he overpowered it. But Travis kept it for years after that, allowing the spirit to recover and grow powerful enough to kill again. In the final fight, Dean smashes the ring with the butt of his gun, killing the creature for good.

supernatural season 15 episode 16

The Last of Its Kind

The show runners have been very clear that Supernatural Season 15 Episode 16 is the last standalone episode of the show. From here on out, we’ll be dealing with the major plot issues and wrapping up loose ends. A good choice to make when the final boss is God himself. Knowing that we have four episodes dedicated to wrapping things up is something of a relief.

This episode is also the last flashback episode, a special kind of story that most fans have loved in the past. Episodes like “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” “After School Special,” and “Bad Boys” actually turned out to be some of my favorites. And as an added bonus, it’s always incredible to watch young actors like Colin Ford and Dylan Everett nail the mannerisms of the adult cast.

For that reason, I had high expectations for Supernatural Season 15 Episode 16. On the whole, this episode didn’t meet them. I don’t feel like the story showcased any new aspect of Sam and Dean’s childhood. Young Dean teases Sam about going to college, but ultimately supports him applying if he wants to. It’s cute to watch them agree they make a good team, a throwback to the end of Supernatural’s pilot episode, but there’s so little bonding time in the episode that it doesn’t feel natural.

Additionally, introducing new actors as young Sam and Dean at this stage in the game didn’t sit right with me. I admit that I’m biased, and I recognize that actors’ schedules don’t always align. But if we were going to have an episode about Sam on the cusp on his Stanford days, I much would have preferred seeing Colin Ford and Brock Kelly. That would have felt like a flashback episode that paid homage to the history of the show.

Tell the Truth

This whole episode functions as a way to make Sam and Dean think about the truth—what it is, when to share it, and when to keep it to yourself. As they investigate the case at the hotel, Dean confesses to Sam that when he was young, he found a pile of bodies in the witch’s nest. It was the first time he’d ever seen anything like that, and he was shaken to the core. He called the police and let them deal with it, but still had nightmares for years. Sam is concerned, pointing out that Dean never told him about that. Dean simply says that he was trying to protect Sam. No one else needed to be plagued by that image.

Of course, in the present, Dean is still lying to Sam. He knows the truth about Jack’s mission, that killing Chuck will kill him too, and that Castiel is out looking for  a last ditch alternative. But this isn’t a secret he’s keeping to protect Sam; it’s a secret he’s keeping to protect himself. He doesn’t want to have to argue with Sam, and knows that Sam’s attachment to Jack will be a problem. But when Billie pays Dean a visit to let him know that the end is nigh, she forces Dean’s hand.

At the close of the episode, Dean finally tells Sam the truth. They’re the last world standing, and Chuck will make his final move soon. Jack’s going to die, and they’re going to let him, because it’s the only way to stop Chuck. Sam is furious, raging that he thought they were past keeping secrets from each other. But Dean coldly tells him that he knew Sam wouldn’t be able to get the job done. There is no time for discussion.

supernatural season 15 episode 16

Overall

This episode certainly wasn’t one of my favorites. I understand why we needed it as a stepping stone to the final push, but it didn’t feel like much more than necessity. When the summary for this episode teased that Sam and Dean would get a call from an old friend, I was anticipating another cameo from a familiar face. As brand new characters, Caitlin and Travis weren’t explored deeply enough for me to form any kind of attachment. Also, Baba Yaga is an incredibly popular legend. The idea that Sam is only just now discovering it in the lore was actually comical to me.

It’s tough to say, especially when there are so many hoops to jump through on the production side of things. But between the cast and the pacing, this episode wasn’t all that enjoyable for me. I’m looking forward to the final stretch, where we can deal with reliable characters and begin tying things up.

What did you think of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 16? Who has been your favorite young Winchester actor? Let us know in the comments, or share your thoughts with us on Twitter!

Supernatural airs Thursday at 8/7c on the CW.