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Recap / Supernatural S 13 E 05 Advanced Thanatology

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 13, Episode 5:

Advanced Thanatology

Written By: Steve Yockey

Directed By: John Showalter

Air date: November 9, 2017

While working on a case involving the ghost of a demented doctor, Sam and Dean get assistance from an unexpected source – Billie (guest star Lisa Berry). Castiel finds his way back to the Winchesters.



  • An Odd Place to Sleep: Sam wakes up to find Dean sprawled out on the floor of their hotel room instead of on the queen sized bed roughly five feet away. Dean has Neck Tie Headband and a pink bra around his neck.
  • Back from the Dead: Billie is back as the new Death.
  • Badass Boast: Dean to Sean
    Dean: You know, I know what it's like to see monsters and I know that when they're gone, they never really go away. You see them when you close your eyes. You see them in your dreams. But you know what? Me and my brother, we're the guys that stop the monsters. We're the guys that scare them.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Back when Billie was just a reaper, she wanted nothing more than to put an end to Dean Winchester and throw him out into the Big Empty. Now that she has become the new incarnation of Death, her perspective has been expanded to the point where she realizes Dean is too important to die just yet and still has a role to play in the universe.
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  • Catapult Nightmare: Sean wakes up screaming from a nightmare.
  • Catch Phrase:
    Sam: Get this.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sam and Dean use the aliases Agent Plant and Agent Page which they've used before in the series.
    • Billie is now wearing Death's ring. She also jokes about Dean not being allowed near her scythe.
  • Easter Egg: One of the possible ways Dean might die is by being burned by a red-headed witch. This is possibly a hint that Rowena might be alive somewhere.
  • Genre Savvy- As soon as Jessica, the Reaper, realizes who Dean is she leaves to get help. A very wise choice since Dean literally killed Death three seasons ago and has defied every reaper he's ever met.
    Jessica: Hello. My name is Jessica and I'm here to lead you to your next life.
    Dean: Yeah. Hi. Dean. Little busy right now.
    Watches Dean run off to chase ghosts
    Jessica: Oh God...
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  • Hangover Sensitivity: Dean needs a big, greasy breakfast, sunglasses, and low voices to recover from his previous night of drinking.
  • Harmful Healing: The doctor's cure for every patient he treats is a lobotomy.
  • Heroic BSoD: Dean is struggling to find a reason to keep fighting in the face of all the brothers have lost in their attempts to save the world.
  • Internal Reveal: Sam and Dean find out that Cas is alive and back on Earth.
  • In-Universe Camera: Sean and Evan are seen holding handheld camcorders and we see some of the episode through the camera's eye.
  • It Is Not Your Time:
    Billie: Dean, every notebook on this particular shelf tells a version of how you die. You, specifically. Heart attack. Burned by a red-haired witch. Stabbed by a ghoul in a graveyard. And on and on. But which one's right? That depends on you. On the choices you make.
    Dean: Well, I guess I made my choice.
    Billie: But, unfortunately, none of these books say you die today.
  • Jitter Cam: Sean and Evan's attempt to escape the mental hospital is recorded through their camcorders and involves quite a bit of Shaky Cam as they are running and fall more than once.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Dr. Avery Meadows does his work in an old plague mask.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Billie says that everyone of the dozens of notebooks in the room she and Dean are standing in represent a possible way Dean might die.
  • Meaningful Echo/Arc Words: Billie to Dean.
    Billie: You have work to do.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Sean compulsively draws pictures of the monster that killed his friend and injured Sean.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Both averted and played straight.
    • Sean leaves Evan for dead when they're chased by the ghost of the doctor.
    • Instead of asking for his own life to be spared, Dean asks Billie to release all the souls trapped at the mental hospital.
    • Sam stands guard over Dean's unconscious body while Dean tries to figure out how to save the ghost.
  • Not Afraid to Die: When Billie threatens not to return Dean to the land of the living he says he doesn't care. He lists all the people he hasn't been able to save and Billie realizes that he's reached a Heroic BSoD.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Dean stops his heart and his body has been without oxygen for over three minutes, but the new Death decides he is too important to the fate of the world to stay dead, so she trades him souls for the information she needs and then sends him back to the realm of the living.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Dean gets suspicious when Sam offers him beer for breakfast, lets Dean have his preferred alias, doesn't complain about Dean's music, and actually suggests going to a strip club, all behaviors Sam usually nags Dean about.
    Dean: Dude, what is going on with you?
    Sam: What are you talking about?
    Dean: All day. You give me a beer for breakfast. You gave me Agent Page which you always like to be. You didn't whine about me blaring my music the whole way here and when we stopped for lunch you ordered me chili fries.
    Sam: You love chili fries.
    Dean: Everybody loves chili fries. That's not the point. Now you want to go hang out at a strip club. You hate strip clubs.
    Sam: No, I don't.
    Dean: Dude, the last lap dance you had was at Christmas. It was a gift, paid for by me. You spent the entire song trying to convince the girl she should go to nursing school. So what is it? Is it my birthday? Did I win a bet that I don't know about? What?
    Sam: Nothing. Nothing. I'm just trying to be nice.
    Dean: Why?
  • Psycho Psychologist: The ghost.
  • The Reveal: Billie is revealed to be the new Death.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: Evan is initially reported missing but the audience knows he is dead. Later Sean goes missing and Sam and Dean mount a rescue only to find out he has also been killed.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: Sean is so frightened by what he witnessed at the mental hospital that he stops speaking.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Sam says Jack is watching Sam's fantasy collection and mentions:
    • The episode has a course catalog-type title, much like most episodes of Community, which was also set in Colorado.
  • Shot to the Heart: How Dean stops his heart and how Sam restarts it.
  • Social Media Before Reason: Sean and Evan break into the abandoned, haunted mental hospital so they can record footage that will go viral on social media. Evan specifically says that the man who owned the house murdered his patients and was executed but he and Sean still go in.
  • The Multiverse: Billie acknowledges that the world Sam and Dean live in is just one of many and that they all exist as a fragile "house of cards".
  • This Is a Drill: How Meadows kills his victims (or gets them to kill themselves.)
  • The Un-Reveal: Dean is returned to life before he can ask about the fate of Mary.
  • Wild Card Excuse: The Winchesters are allied with supernatural creatures who are generally far too overpowered for Monster of the Week missions. The writers need a reason why Sam and Dean's super powered allies wouldn't come along on a more or less mundane hunt and solve it in a matter of minutes to save the Winchesters days of hunting, researching, and life-threatening fights. A running gag is that whoever the Winchesters is allied with (Castiel, Jack, etc.) has discovered Netflix and is going to stay at the bunker and binge watch while Sam and Dean go on a lower-tier monster hunt.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The Winchesters do away with the doctor's ghost, but to finish the job they need to find the bodies of his victims and help them pass on.

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