What more could be done to poor Dean Winchester? He got turned old; he was part dog, infected with a ghost sickness that made him terrified of everything. He's already been killed (literally hundreds of times), sent to hell, sent to purgatory, kidnapped by fairies, turned into a demon, turned into a vampire, watched his brother die along with just about everyone else he's ever cared about. What new horrors could possibly be dreamt up? The answer to that is last night's episode--Dean is hit with a powerful spell that causes him to slowly forget everything until he can no longer remember who he is.
Things start off innocently enough as Dean chases a man through the woods. When he finally corners this mysterious stranger, the man activates some sort of spell that knocks Dean out. He wakes up the next morning to a broken phone and a little rabbit nibbling the grass next to him, unable to remember the night before. He finds people and borrows a phone to call Sam. The two meet up at a waffle house where Dean encounters a woman who slaps him for not knowing who she is. As they get in the car to leave, Dean struggles to remember which key starts the car, and then how to back out of a parking space. Sam calls Rowena to see if she has any idea what could be causing the memory lapses, and she suggests that it may be o particular spell that can be reversed by killing the witch who cast it.
As the day goes on, Dean begins to forget more and more of the basic, driving Sam to cover their hotel room in yellow sticky notes to remind Dean of what common household objects are called. To figure out what happened to him, Sam tries to help jog his memory by retracing his steps on the previous night. They eventually end up at a bar where he'd ordered dinner, ridden a mechanical bull, and the waitress there that the two recognize as the woman that saw them at the waffle house that morning. She agrees to help them by getting them video camera footage, revealing that Dean had confronted a man in the alley behind the bar that night, even going so far as to shoot him. The Winchesters follow his trail and find a sigil that they don't recognize. Nearby, Dean discovers the body of the witch, leaving them without a cure to the spell.
Sam again call Rowena, but this time she opts for a house call and shows up to find Dean deteriorating quickly. He no longer recalls even the events of that day, and Rowena explains that Dean will eventually forget who he is, how to talk, even how to swallow, and will eventually die. Sam shows her a photo of the dead which in the woods and she recognizes him as part of a very powerful family of witches. Before he leaves to find the witches and break the spell, Sam sits down with Dean in their bathroom and reminds Dean of his life's story, ending it by explaining that he's going to go and get the witches who caused this to happen.
Sam leaves Dean behind in the bathroom to absorb that information while he goes out to consult with Rowena about what to do next. Rowena explains that the witch family is in possession of a grimoire that holds the key to reversing the spell on Dean. He leaves Rowena behind to babysit Dean, despite her protests, deciding that he can simply force the witches to show him the spell and he can have her translate it over the phone. While they talk, Dean looks at himself in the mirror and goes over what his brother has told him. His name in Dean Winchester. His brother is Sam. His mother is Mary. His best friend is Castiel. Bit by bit, the knowledge slips away from him as he tries to repeat the mantra until he once again doesn't know who he is anymore.
Sam locates the home of the witches, but they're ready for him. They capture him and prepare to swap out his soul for the soul of the witch that Dean had killed. Rowena overhears this on the phone that Sam has and decides to intervene. She takes leaves Dean behind in the car with notes telling him to stay put.When he decides not to, he finds a note on the trunk telling him to open it. His gun is labled as well as some witch killing bullets.
Meanwhile, Rowena confronts the witches who are holding Sam. One comes to deal with her while the second continues with the soul-swapping ritual. Rowena finds herself outmatched, but Dean appears. The witch scoffs at his gun, but he holds up the sticky note that reads "witch killing bullets" and pulls the trigger. In another room, Sam escapes his bonds and takes on the last witch, who runs out of the room and into where Dean and Rowena are. Sam follows. Dean sees them coming, but hesitates, not knowing who to shoot at. Sam points out himself as Dean's brother and the witch as the witch, and Dean dispatches him. Now in possession of the grimoire, Rowena easily reverses the spell and restores Dean's memories.
This episode was a bright spot in the season so far. There was a lot of levity in the dialogue and the acting, and a lot of lighter scenes, where you don't have to lock yourself in a dark room to see what's on the screen, which was a welcome change. However, this did not stop it from breaking my poor heart for Dean. Also, I'm really interested in Rowena! It was great to see her back this episode, and in her conversation with the forgetful Dean, she said some things that hint at a possible redemption arc for her. How cool would it be to see her help the boys out every once in awhile without all the strings attached? What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments!I would rate this episode 8/10.