|“||What I want is in a mahogany trunk, in a safe, locked in a vault room, hidden somewhere on Shrike's farm. I want you to find my property and bring it back to me.||”|
|“||Bart's bones. You burn them, he dies. That's my leverage. You're on the wrong side of this boys. You gotta ask yourselves if you can live with that.||”|
In the 19th century, the young son of a man named Luther Shrike becomes terminally ill. Desperate to save his son, Luther contacts the Crossroad Demon Barthamus and offers to trade his soul to save his son's life. Barthamus accepts the deal and heals Luther's son. However, a few years later, Luther's son dies anyway of drowning. Barthamus callously refuses to intervene, claiming that accidents happen and that he cannot be held responsible for the boy's death.
Angry at Barthamus' refusal to save his son and considering Barthamus' actions a double-cross by a being of pure evil, Luther sets out to save himself and to force Barthamus to renegotiate his deal. By the time that Luther is dragged to Hell by hellhounds, he manages to locate Barthamus' human bones. As burning them will kill Barthamus, Luther is able to use the bones as leverage against the Crossroad Demon. Luther uses Barthamus' bones to force Barthamus to resurrect him. Furthermore, Luther forces Barthamus to give him immortality, particularly on his property where Luther can't die.
Following his resurrection, Luther becomes a collector of supernatural artifacts. To keep Barthamus off of his back and as a form of revenge, Luther hangs on to Barthamus' bones. Luther locks them in a mahogany trunk that he keeps the key to around his neck. As further precautions, Luther locks the trunk in a safe that he places within a vault that only the blood of a man who has been to Hell and back can open. Luther also arms the vault with "a thousand" deadly darts tipped with silver and filled with a combination of arsenic, holy water and holy oil as a defense against any human, monster, demon or angel that may be able to penetrate the vault.
Following the rise of Crowley to King of Hell, Barthamus becomes the new King of the Crossroads. Following his accidentally killing a security guard, the Nephilim Jack takes off, resulting in everyone from the angels, to the Winchesters, to the Prince of Hell Asmodeus searching for him.
At 7:45pm on a Friday, a demon working for the King of the Crossroads Barthamus enters the Cambridge Museum in Cambridge, England. As everyone is distracted by the fact that the museum closes in fifteen minutes, the demon is able to make its way unnoticed into the staff only area and to the Archive Room. Reading off of a piece of paper, the demon tries to punch in the code to open the door, but is unsuccessful. Unable to get in, the demon breaks through the door and searches the room, eventually locating the Nephilim tracking spell in one of the drawers. As the demon puts the spell in its purse and turns to leave, it is approached by a security guard who states that it is not allowed down there. The demon smokes out of its female vessel and into the security guard. Now possessing the security guard, the demon is able to grab its purse and leave undetected.
Outside, the demon meets with Barthamus and gives him the purse containing the spell. After the demon questions how Asmodeus will reward them, Barthamus kills the demon with an angel blade before calling hunter Dean Winchester and telling Dean that he has something that Dean might be interested in. Barthamus catches Dean's attention by asking about his Nephilim and then telling Dean that "word on the street is that he's gone rogue." After Barthamus tells Dean that the word is from Hell, the Winchesters realize that he's a demon. Barthamus reveals that he has a way to find Jack and orders the Winchesters to meet him at Smile Diner at 12:45 before hanging up.
Making their way to the diner for the meeting, the Winchesters discuss Barthamus and argue about him with Dean believing that he could work for Asmodeus. Though Dean is dubious about working with a demon again, Sam believes that Barthamus could genuinely hold the key to finding Jack and they should hear him out. Sam is able to get Dean to agree to hear Barthamus out, but Dean wants to kill Barthamus afterwards.
Entering the diner, the Winchesters locate Barthamus who introduces himself to them. Barthamus reveals that he has been following the Winchesters' career for a long time and sees them as natural disruptors which he feels that they have in common. Barthamus provides the Winchesters with half of the spell and explains that its a genuine Nephilim tracking spell. The Winchesters remain dubious so Barthamus explains that he's a Crossroad Demon and following Crowley's promotion to King of Hell "the Crossroad Demon." As a result, Barthamus claims that helping people is what he does.
After Sam asks for the catch, Barthamus admits that he does need a favor from them in return and that he has only given them half the spell while the other half is elsewhere. Barthamus promises to hand it over once they are done. Dean suggests that instead, they kill Barthamus, causing Barthamus to comment on how "very Dean" it is of him. Barthamus tells Sam to look into the spell and check on its authenticity before leaving.
At the Men of Letters bunker, Sam performs research on the spell. After putting together a rough translation, Sam determines that the spell appears to be genuine. Sam tells Dean that the spell is written in Canannite and dates back to the time of King Solomon. King Solomon had commissioned the spell to keep an eye on the Queen of Sheba who the lore states was half-angel. Dean realizes that the Queen of Sheba was also a Nephilim and King Solomon "created a spell so that he could stalk his girlfriend." Sam confirms this along with the fact that the spell looks like it would work if they possessed the other half. Sam admits that he doesn't want to play whatever game that Barthamus is playing, but he doesn't see any other option despite the fact that such things don't usually go their way. Sam reminds Dean that Jack is out in the world scared, alone and dangerous and if the spell can lead them to him, they must take it. Dean reluctantly agrees with Sam that they need to take a chance with Barthamus.
At a warehouse, the Winchesters meet with Barthamus and his two associates that he identifies as Smash and Grab. Barthamus explains that Smash can crack any safe known to man while Grab is a demon that is an expert in bypassing supernatural security. Dean realizes that Barthamus wants them for a heist and Barthamus shows them a picture of Luther Shrike who he identifies as a hoarder with a taste for collecting rare supernatural artifacts, including something of Barthamus'. Barthamus explains that "what I want is in a mahogany trunk, in a safe, locked in a vault room hidden somewhere on Shrike's farm." Barthamus admits that he wants the Winchesters to find his property and to bring it back to him.
Barthamus dodges questions about what the object is and states that he can't retrieve it because the farm is warded inside and out. While Grab can locate the vault room, the only thing that can open it is the blood of a man who's been to Hell and back such as Dean. Though Dean offers to give his blood to Barthamus immediately in exchange for the spell, Barthamus refuses as the blood needs to be "straight from the tap." Barthamus also states that he needs more than Dean's blood, he needs the Winchesters themselves. While Grab can locate the vault and Smash can open the safe, there will be "curveballs" which the Winchesters are good at dealing with.
Sam questions how Luther gets into the vault and Barthamus explains that Luther uses his own blood. Though Luther has been to Hell and back, he's still human and is not a demon. Barthamus claims that Luther is not a good person and that he is "a sadist, a murderer who will do anything and everything to add to his collection." Barthamus continues to refuse to explain what Luther has of his, stating that all they need to know is that its important to him. After Sam states that its not good enough, Barthamus threatens to hand over the spell to Asmodeus, who is also looking for Jack, instead. As Barthamus trusts Asmodeus less than the Winchesters, he is willing to give them first shot at the spell "for now."
The Winchesters walk away to discuss the situation privately. Dean recognizes that the job is likely to go badly and will end up with them getting into trouble as a result. While Sam recognizes that Dean is right that Barthamus will screw them over the first chance he gets, Sam suggests that they screw Barthamus over first instead. Sam points out that they need the spell and can't risk allowing Asmodeus to get his hands on. As a result, Sam wants to do the job, get the spell and then kill Barthamus which Dean agrees to.
The Winchesters return to Barthamus, Smash and Grab and agree to do the job. Sam warns that if they are going to do the job, finding the vault will take time. As a result, Sam suggests that they will need a distraction to keep Luther busy. Barthamus agrees to hear them out, feeling that Luther will never see them coming and the group begins planning their heist.
At the same time, having somehow learned of Barthamus' plans, Asmodeus sends a demon messenger to warn Luther. However, Luther recognizes that Asmodeus wants to use him as bait. The demon insists that Barthamus is coming and asks that when Barthamus "shows his traitor face," Luther gives them a call. Having lured the demon into a devil's trap, Luther performs an exorcism and sends the demon back to Hell. As the demon is sent back to Hell, Luther orders him to give Asmodeus that he doesn't take orders and is ready if Barthamus, Asmodeus or anyone comes near him.
As part of their plan, Sam contacts Luther by email using the alias of John Dortmunder to offer to sell Luther a family heirloom. Luther agrees and sets up a meeting with Sam. With Dean and Smash hidden in the backseat, Sam drives the Impala to Luther's farm. Upon arrival outside of the gates, Sam identifies himself on the intercom and is let in. Once inside the property, Sam lets Dean and Smash out while Sam continues on to the house alone where he finds Luther in his study.
As Sam distracts Luther, Dean and Smash make their way to a barn on the property where Dean sets up a spell to summon Grab. After a brief moment of bonding over their mutual love for Nerve Damage, Dean warns Alice that working for demons is a bad idea. Beyond admitting that she doesn't really have a choice but to work for Barthamus, Smash dodges questions about why she is working for Barthamus.
Dean completes the spell, summoning Grab into the barn. Grab admits that he doesn't know where the vault is as it is hidden under a cloaking spell. However, Grab tells Dean that the vault will be easy to find as Dean's blood acts like a dousing rod. "The vault wants it, you have it. Like attracts like." Grab then casts a spell that causes Dean's arm to point in the direction of the vault and to begin pulling Dean there following by Smash and Grab.
In Luther's study, he offers Sam a glass of homemade gin and shows him what he believes to be a fossilized basilisk fang but what Sam reveals is actually a gorgon tooth. Rejecting Sam's request to see more of his collection, Luther decides to get down to business and asks what Sam has brought him. Sam unlocks a box containing what he calls a very rare one of a kind item: the Winchesters' demon-killing knife.
Outside, Grab's spell causes an annoyed Dean to lead them to a cellar door. Smash realizes that the vault must be in the cellar, but Grab refuses to join them, stating that he has already done his part. In the cellar, Dean and Smash locate the door to the vault room where Smash realizes that Dean has to put his hand in the decoration of a mouth to open the door.
Impressed by the knife, Luther decides to buy it and asks about Sam's price. Sam informs Luther that what they discussed over email is fine by him and Luther removes a wad of cash from his desk. However, Luther realizes that Sam is not actually there to sell the knife and, grabbing the knife, accuses Sam of being sent by Barthamus. Despite Sam's denials, Luther attacks Sam with the knife, believing that Sam is a demon sent by Barthamus to distract him while Sam's friends rob Luther. Sam is able to dodge a shotgun blast and stab Luther with the knife, but he fails to harm him. "Bart didn't tell you? As long as I'm on my property I can't die," Luther taunts. Removing the knife, Luther knocks Sam unconscious with a blow from the fossilized gorgon tooth to the face and leaves to deal with the others.
After some initial reluctance, Dean sticks his hand into the ornament and a device within traps his hand for a moment and extracts a drop of Dean's blood, opening the vault room door. Inside, Dean and Smash find a series of symbols on the tiles within between them and the safe. As Smash makes her way into the room, a head ornament on the wall shoots a dart at her. Seeing this, Dean quickly pulls Smash out of the way, saving her life. As Grab asks how things are going, Smash admits that Barthamus didn't tell anything about the booby-traps in the vault room.
Outside, Grab gets annoyed with the lack of answer he is getting. As Grab turns around, he finds Luther behind him. Luther stabs Grab in the stomach with the demon-killing knife, killing Grab. As Dean complains about the booby-traps, Luther enters the cellar armed with the knife and Smash quickly calls Dean's attention to him. Kicking Luther in the shin, Smash quickly flees outside where she becomes panicked at the sight of Grab's body and makes a run for it.
With Smash gone, Dean questions Luther on Sam's location. Luther admits that Sam is "alive as far as I left him" and that he had thought Sam to be a demon. "I guess Bart's got humans doing his dirty work now," Luther concludes. Seeing the knife in Luther's hand, Dean draws his gun and suggests that "gun beats knife" and that Luther should just hand over the safe. Luther refuses and advances on Dean who shoots Luther several times to no effect. As Luther goes to attack with the knife, Sam enters, distracting Luther. Sam warns Dean that Luther is immortal so Dean simply knocks Luther unconscious with a punch. "Well, good thing he's got a glass jaw," Dean comments.
The Winchesters tie Luther to a pillar in the cellar and Dean demands that Luther reveal how to get past his booby-traps and into the safe. Luther refuses, confidently telling Dean that he will never crack the riddle in the vault room. "And if you try, you'll find yourself on the business end of a thousand tiny darts, each tipped with silver and filled with arsenic, holy water and holy oil. Gentlemen, I wish you good fortune!" Luther taunts with a laugh. Annoyed with Luther's taunts, Dean gags him with a piece of masking tape.
Still panicked about Luther's appearance and Grab's death, Smash runs to the gate to Luther's property. Barthamus appears outside of the gate, demanding to know where Smash is going. Smash tells Barthamus that Grab is dead and the Winchesters likely are too and that everything has gone wrong. While Smash feels that the job is over as a result, Barthamus doesn't care and reminds Smash, who he calls by her real name of Alice, that just because he likes her, it doesn't mean that he will renegotiate the terms of her deal. Alice pleads that she will do another job and make it up to Barthamus, but Barthamus refuses to change his mind and compels Alice to return to help the Winchesters with the safe.
Outside of the vault room, the Winchesters attempt to figure out how to get past the booby-traps. Sam suggests that the symbols on the tile are like a keypad and they must be stepped on in a certain order to make it safely through the vault room, but the problem is that only Luther knows the correct combination. Though Dean suggests that they wing it, Sam finds the idea to be impossible due to the infinite number of possible combinations and the unlikelihood that they could figure it out.
After looking around the room briefly, Sam comes up with an idea that is "a little crazy." Dean agrees to try the idea and the Winchesters tie Luther to a chair that they place upon a rolling platform that's in the cellar. Dean reminds Luther that he had told Luther that he would help before the Winchesters shove the platform with Luther on it through the vault room. The rolling platform triggers all of Luther's booby-traps, causing Luther to be pelted with all of the darts he had set up to protect the room. Luther survives due to his invulnerability, but the darts are expended in the process and the booby-trap is effectively disabled. Dean then ties the complaining Luther to the pillar once more.
As Dean ties Luther back up, Sam examines the safe and determines that he can't open it. When Dean rejoins him, Sam states that he doubts anyone has seen a safe like Luther's in over a hundred years. Alice enters the vault room and states that she has seen a similar safe before. Dean questions why Alice ran and she admits that she doesn't want to be there and has no choice. Sam realizes that Alice made a deal with Barthamus and sold her soul to him. Alice confirms it, stating that if she could take the deal back, she would. Since she can't, as long as she works for Barthamus, he will never collect on her deal. Though the Winchesters offer to help her out, Alice refuses, stating that "I gotta take care of me." Using a stethoscope to hear the tumblers, Alice is quickly able to open the safe and the Winchesters retrieve the trunk Barthamus described to them from it.
In the cellar, the Winchesters and Alice discover that Luther is gone. Dean decides that it doesn't matter and the three load the trunk into the Impala's backseat and drive away. On the road near Luther's property, the Winchesters encounter Luther waiting for them in the middle of the road in a truck. Dean attempts to escape in reverse, but can't evade Luther's truck. At Dean's prompting, Sam shoots out Luther's driver-side tire, forcing Luther's truck off of the road.
Armed with their guns, the Winchesters emerge from the Impala and demand that Luther get out of his truck. No longer invulnerable as he is off of his property, Luther gets out without a fight. "It make you feel good? Whoring yourselves out to pure evil? Because that's what he is!" demands Luther. Luther explains how he traded his life to Barthamus to save his terminally ill son but allowed the boy to drown a few years later. Luther angrily tells the Winchesters that Barthamus' response to his son's death was that "accidents happen" and that he couldn't be held responsible for the boy's death. Luther's story draws the sympathy of the Winchesters who believe him about Barthamus and his son.
Sam questions Luther on what he did and Luther explains that when he was dragged to Hell by the hellhounds he "negotiated a new deal" using leverage. Luther directs the Winchesters to check the trunk they stole for his leverage and provides Sam with the key to the trunk. Sam opens the trunk to reveal a set of human bones. "Bart's bones. You burn them, he dies. That's my leverage. You're on the wrong side of this boys. You gotta ask yourselves if you can live with that," Luther explains to the stunned Winchesters. As the Winchesters contemplate Luther's revelations, he is suddenly decapitated by Barthamus from the side, killing Luther. "Luther. You never should've left the house," Barthamus taunts Luther's corpse as the Winchesters and Alice watch on in horror.
Tossing his machete into Luther's truck, Barthamus assures the Winchesters that Luther had it coming. Dean confronts Barthamus about letting Luther's son die, but Barthamus callously states that Luther didn't read the fine print and that he is a businessman. Barthamus offers an unhappy Alice the payment of a roll of cash and the Winchesters the second half of the spell as per their deal. However, utterly disgusted with Barthamus' actions, the Winchesters refuse to trade the spell for Barthamus' bones. "Let me see if I understand: you two do-gooding idiots are willing to welch on our deal? Throw away the only chance you have at finding your boy because I killed a two hundred year old blackmailing piece of garbage, is that it?" Dean agrees, stating that its also because they don't like him.
Grabbing Alice, Barthamus threatens to snap her neck if the Winchesters don't give him his bones. Barthamus threatens that if the Winchesters burn his bones, he will kill her as he dies. As Alice pleads with them, Dean reluctantly agrees to Barthamus' demands and the Winchesters slide the trunk out. Releasing the terrified Alice, Barthamus orders her to retrieve his bones for him and taunts the Winchesters that they could've had the spell but they couldn't make it easy. Alice apologizes, but Dean recognizes that she needs to take care of herself. "So take care of you," Dean tells Alice and gestures with his eyes to the trunk where he has left his lighter on top of Barthamus' bones. Seeing this, Alice nods in acknowledgment of what Dean is telling her to do.
Alice moves in front of the trunk and grabs the lighter. As Barthamus watches in shock, Alice uses the lighter to set Barthamus' bones on fire. Barthamus and his vessel are engulfed in flames and burn to ash, killing Barthamus. The fire from the Crossroad Demon's destruction ignites the spell as well. Though Sam attempts to save the spell, it is destroyed by the flames.
Killing Barthamus breaks Alice's deal and frees her to live a normal life. The Winchesters take Alice to a bus depot to find a new life free from Barthamus and the threat of her soul being dragged to Hell.
- Luther's method of threatening Barthamus' bones to leverage Barthamus to renegotiate his deal is similar to what Bobby Singer did in Weekend at Bobby's to break his own deal.
- Alice killing Barthamus by burning his bones is the first time that burning a demon's human bones to kill them has been seen since Caged Heat in season 6. It is also the first time that it has been successful since Bobby killed another Crossroad Demon in Weekend at Bobby's.
- Unlike when Gunner Lawless killed Duke and was immediately beset by hellhounds looking to drag him to Hell in Beyond the Mat, Alice killing Barthamus appears to break her deal without consequences and allow her to resume a normal life. This is similar to how the Winchesters believed that killing the demon holding Dean's deal would break it in season 3.
- It is unclear how Luther originally found Barthamus' bones since that required knowing his human name and knowing where the bones were buried as seen with Crowley's bones in Weekend at Bobby's.
- It is also unclear how Luther managed to use the bones as leverage against Barthamus from Hell. Presumably, he had a third party threaten the bones on his behalf.