Dean wakes up to find two hunters, Roy and Walt, standing over him and Sam with rifles. They shoot them both, killing them.
Dean finds himself in his car and gets out to find Young Sam, and its Fourth of July, 1996. He’s with Sam, helping him with fireworks. It’s a beautiful moment, where Dean was bringing Sam happiness. Young Sam disappears, and Dean then hears Castiel on his car radio, and he tells Dean to follow the road to find Sam.
Sam is in a memory from when he was 11, and after Dean shows up, the house goes dark and things start shaking. Castiel shows up on the television and tells them that they are in Heaven so they need to take advantage of the opportunity and find Joshua, an angel who is rumored to talk to God.
The brothers next find themselves in their Kansas home when Dean was a kid and their mother was alive. They then move on to the time when Sam ran away and the night he left for Stanford.
Zachariah is looking for them and chases them through a forest. Ash finds them and brings them in to hide in the Roadhouse. Ash has a computer set up with a “practical application of string theory” that lets Ash keep track of everything going on with the angels. It’s how he knew Sam and Dean were there.
After leaving the Roadhouse, the brothers are back in their Kansas home, and their mother shows up. She starts saying terrible things and her eyes go yellow. Then Zachariah shows up. He starts threatening the brothers until another man shows up and says he needs to meet with them on God’s orders. He turns out to be Joshua. He tells them that God’s on earth, but they won’t find him and while he knows about everything that’s going on, he won’t help. Joshua then sends them back to Earth, but they will remember their visit to Heaven.
When they tell Castiel, he is clearly disappointed and is starting to lose faith. As Dean leaves the motel room, he drops the pendant from Sam in the garbage can.
Dean sees the common theme of Sam’s “happy” memories as him feeling that their family wasn’t good enough. “Your idea of heaven is somebody else’s Thanksgiving,” Dean says. Some of the memories that Sam sees as good memories Dean remembers as him getting in trouble for losing Sam and thinking he was dead, and the worst night of his life. On the other hand, Sam never had the childhood family experiences that Dean had. “I never got the crust cut off my PB & J,” Sam says.
The events of the trip to Heaven took their toll on Dean, and on his faith in Sam. In the last scene, Dean drops the pendant Sam had given him, which had previously been so important to him, into the trash can, a very cold move that symbolized him losing his faith in Sam and in their ability to win the fight.
Ash shows up in Heaven, where he lives in the Roadhouse.
Pamela comes in and has a talk with Dean. She tells him that she’s happy and says that maybe he doesn’t have to fight Michael so hard.
Pop Culture References:
“Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by bob Dylan
“Don’t go into the light.” – Castiel
“Okay, thanks, Carol Anne.” – Dean
“I just never realized how long you’ve been cleaning up Dad’s messes.” – Sam
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