Rock and a Hard Place is the 8th episode of Season 9. It aired on November 26th, 2013.
Sheriff Mills calls Sam and Dean for help investigating multiple murders in her small town. Discovering all four victims belonged to the same church chastity group, Sam and Dean decide to infiltrate by joining the group themselves. When Dean disappears, Sam and Sheriff Mills realize whatever they are hunting has taken Dean too and team up to rescue him.
In Hartford, South Dakota, a waitress, Honor, locks up a diner for the night and walks past a homeless man, Slim, sleeping against the building. Honor sets some leftover food down next to him and goes on, unaware at first that someone is watching her from the bushes. The woman finally hears someone moving and glances over, and nervously continues to her SUV. Honor trips and drops her keys beneath her car, and crawls underneath to get them. Someone approaches and the woman activates the mini-taser on her key chain, but her pursuer lifts the SUV up and then releases a burst of brilliant blue flame rendering her unconscious. The person then drags Honor to a hatch and dumps her into the chamber below.
Dean comes down to the Letters' kitchen for breakfast and finds Sam sleeping at the table. He wakes Sam up and tells him that Kevin hasn't found anything yet. Neither one of them believe Crowley is telling the truth about the fact that Metatron's spell can't be broken. When Sam yawns, Dean figures that he's sick but his brother insists that he's just exhausted.
Jody Mills calls and Dean puts her on speakerphone. The sheriff tells them that four people have gone missing in Hartford and a witness saw the suspect lift a SUV with their bare hands. The Winchesters are soon off to Hartford and meet Jody at the diner. She explains that the other three victims, a preacher and an engaged couple, were also abducted and there were signs their abductor had superhuman strength. They were all members of Good Faith Church. Dean wonders if she's ready to get involved again after Crowley's attack on her, and Jody figures that she doesn't have a choice as long as it keeps coming.
The brothers wonder if angels are involved and ask to talk to the witness. Jody takes them into the diner and they meet with Slim, who explains that he saw a man lift the SUV. Slim describes the blue light but admits that he doesn't know anything else. Dean pays him out of sympathy and they figure that a blue light means an angel isn't involved.
The Winchesters go to the Good Faith Church and meet with the secretary, Bonnie Fuschau. They offer to join but ask about the missing members, and Bonnie assures them that they've increased security. Dean realizes that she was close to them and Bonnie explains that they were all members of a chastity group, Abstinence Purifies Us (APU). Figuring that there might be a connection, Sam asks if they can sit in. When Bonnie says that it's members only, Sam immediately volunteers him and his brother to join. Dean is less than thrilled but plays along. As she goes to get the papers, Sam suggests that the killer is stalking virgins, and Dean wonders if a dragon is involved.
Bonnie comes back and asks them to sign the purity pledges, and Dean explains that it's too late for that. She says that if they ask for forgiveness and make a new vow of chastity then everything will be fine. When Dean makes light of the concept, Bonnie insists that it's their chance to have a clean slate and be a virgin until marriage. They both sign and Bonnie congratulates them on being virgins.
Honor wakes up and uses the light from her mini-taser to look around. She realizes that she's in a 60s fallout shelter. Figures move past her in the surrounding hallways and Honor begs them to stay away from her.
The APU group meets and Suzy Lee leads with a silent prayer for their missing friends. Dean is busy looking at Suzy until Sam nods at him to pretend to pray. A girl, Tammy, steps up to recite a prayer but Suzy asks her to read it later. She asks Sam to explain why he joined and he says that all of his relationships with women have ended badly. Dean wholeheartedly agrees. Suzy then asks Dean why he's there and he describes in some detail all the things about sex that he supposedly doesn't like, which leaves all the women present, hot and out of breath. Sam finally interrupts his tirade and Dean wraps it up.
Afterward, Dean insists to Sam that he was purifying, and asks if Suzy looks familiar. As he goes over to talk to her, Bonnie approaches Sam and asks how he liked the meeting. He mentions the missing people and Bonnie says that Honor was her favorite. She notices a woman taking cookies and approaches her, while Tammy, overhearing, complains to Sam that Bonnie has no idea what kind of girl Honor really is. Sam draws her to the side to get more details.
Suzy tells Dean that they haven't met before and offers individual counseling if he needs someone to talk to privately. She offers to go home to get some books for him, and Dean insists on walking with her since there's a kidnapper on the loose. He goes over to tell Sam, who is dismayed to learn that Dean plans to hit on the chastity teacher. Sam returns to Tammy, who insists that Honor is going to Hell.
When Sam returns to the motel, he tells Jody that Tammy learned that Honor and the pastor were having sex on the side. Jody has confirmed that the engaged couple were having sex before marriage, and that their mother heard a crash and a flash of blue light two hours later right before they disappeared. They both figure that the abductor is going after virgins who break their chastity vows, which means dragons aren't responsible.
Suzy takes Dean to her apartment and takes off her warm-up sweater. As Dean takes her all in, Sam calls but Dean ignores it. He lights a candle and approaches Suzy, and realizes that she's crying. She admits that she can't stop thinking about her friends, and asks Dean to pray with her for them. Dean sits down with her and pretends to pray.
When he can't get through to Dean, Sam leaves a message telling him to call. He wonders if Jody took the chastity vow, and she tells him that she doesn't make promises she can't keep. Jody explains that she just enjoys church, and after Bobby and Crowley, she needed something comforting. Sam agrees, but Jody figures that he and Dean already have each other to turn to in times of trouble.
After they finish praying, Suzy gives Dean her books on chastity and then goes to the bathroom. As Sam calls, Dean sees Spanish porn videos in a partially-opened drawer and realizes that Suzy is on the cover. Sam starts to tell him what they've discovered, but Dean hangs up when Suzy comes back. He calls her by her performing name and Suzy offers to get him another counselor. Dean insists that she's a legend, but Suzy says that she's not that girl anymore. He assures her that she's the good dreams and that the people of Hartford don't appreciate her and all of the things that she can do. They end up having sex.
In the fallout shelter, Honor trips over the pastor, Fred, and twists her ankle. Searching, she finds a lantern in an emergency supply closet. As Honor examines Fred, he jerks awake and Neil and Barb, the engaged couple, come in. They explain that Fred is starving to death and they'll soon suffer the same fate if they don't escape. The hatch above opens and they all hide. The blue flame fills the room and then the hatch closes. They discover that Fred is gone and hear him screaming up above.
At the motel, Sam figures that the creature is going after virgins that break their vows... and Dean has been out of contact and with Suzy for over an hour. He and Jody head out.
At Suzy's apartment, no sooner than Dean opens the door, a blue flame sweeps through the room, knocking them both unconscious.
In the shelter, Honor checks her ankle while Barb claws at the walls until her fingers bleed, suffering from dehydration and desperate to escape. She licks at the blood in an attempt to quench her thirst until the hatch opens again. The killer dumps in Dean and Suzy and then covers over the hatch.
Sam and Jody search Suzy's apartment and find the porn videos. The neighbors report seeing a flash of blue and Sam figures that his brother got together with the porn star.
Dean tries to get the hatch open without success. He wonders what took Pastor Fred and Honor admits that they couldn't tell what took him.
Back at the motel, Jody checks the Internet and finds a reference to virgins and fire. She's found a page about Vesta, the Roman Goddess of the Hearth. In ancient Rome, six virgins were tasked with tending Vesta's hearth each year. Fire is the symbol of purity and as long as the fire was kept lit, Rome received a good harvest. If the virgins broke their 30-year vow of celibacy, then they were buried alive.
Suzy wonders if God wants them down there because of what they did, but Dean assures her that it isn't God's work. He realizes that their captor took his phone but he has a backup. Dean tries to call Sam, while Honor notices that Neil keeps staring at her.
According to the records, Vesta was enveloped in a blue flame that she could use to disorient or kill. As Jody looks for any reference to killing the goddess, Dean reaches Sam on his cellphone. The signal goes in and out because of the shelter walls, and they get cut off before Dean can say anything useful. Sam hears a train whistle in the distance and has Jody check the maps.
In the shelter, Barb tells Neil not to do it. Dean demands to know what they're talking about and Neil says that their captor always takes the weakest. Neil wants to give up Honor because of her injured ankle, buying the others some time. Dean refuses to give her up and threatens to turn Neil over if he doesn't shut up.
Sam and Jody confirm that the train was passing five miles east of Hartford when Dean made the call. Jody confirms that there's an old farm, and finds a reference to oak stake stained in virgin blood to kill Vesta. They go to see Tammy, who is running a blood drive at the church. Tammy figures that they're devil worshipers and refuses to help, and Jody punches her in the nose. They collect the blood and go to the farm, and start searching.
As they wait, Honor sees Suzy toying with her chastity ring, and Suzy admits she wasn't as strong as she thought.
As they go through the barn, Sam and Jody split up to search. Sam finally locates the panel covering the hatch and starts banging on it. As he tries to pull it open, the killer grabs him and tosses him aside. When Jody comes running, Bonnie grabs her and hoists her up into the air, and holds up one blue-glowing finger. Jody asks why a Roman deity is burying people in a barn and says that it's pathetic. Vesta punches her and says that she's had to do it herself since the Romans forgot her and turned to Christianity. As she beats Jody, Vesta says that she adapted.
Dean finds a screw and asks for a screwdriver. Honor finds a scissor from the first aid kit and hands it to him, and Dean works at the screw.
Vesta continues to beat Jody and then straps her down to her sacrificial altar. The goddess insists that she takes what she deserves, feasting on her victims' liver which purifies the bodies that they trash. Vesta prepares to stab her and Jody tries to grab the stake and drive it into her. Sam wakes up and attacks Vesta, and the goddess drives the stake into Jody's shoulder and then turns to Sam. When Vesta uses her burning touch on Sam to take his liver, she recoils in disgust and says that it's no good. She tells Sam that he can't possibly be alive. Before she can recover, Jody stabs her from behind with the stake, killing her. Dean gets through the hatch and asks what he missed.
Back at the motel, the Winchesters prepare to leave and they share a hug with Jody. Once she leaves, Sam wonders if there is something really wrong with him. Dean tells him that he just needs some rest, but Sam figures that Vesta had no reason to lie. He figures that he's a mess and wonders if he's ever going to be all right, and Dean assures him that they'll figure it out. His brother isn't convinced and Dean finally decides to tell him the truth. However, Ezekiel takes over and tells him not to do it. He warns that Sam isn't ready and says that it won't take much longer to heal Sam. Ezekiel releases his control and Dean simply says that it's not Sam's fault and they'll deal with it. He asks Sam for a little faith and Sam doesn't say anything…for the moment.
Featured Supernatural Beings
- Jody: Choking on a ladies' room floor cuz of witchcraft? Kinda makes a higher power seem relevant.
- Dean: So you just hit the virginity do-over button and all is good with the man upstairs?
- Bonnie: Congratulations, Sam and Dean Winchester. You are both virgins.
- Tammy: Sex is a racquet, and God's ball is in your court.
- Sam: Okay, so we have missing church folk and super strength. Maybe angels harvesting vessels, could be a Buddy Boyle-type thing.
- Jody: Wait... angels? You're joking.
- Dean: Don't get your pants on fire. They suck.
- Jody: Barb Blanton, our missing bride-to-be...
- Sam: Yeah?
- Jody: Mom said she heard Barb and her fiancé in Barb's bedroom.
- Sam: Going at it.
- Jody: Well, she said she heard sex noises, then Barb crying, then Neil telling Barb it didn't count because it was under 30 seconds.
- Dean: Sex has always felt, I dunno, good. I mean, really, really good. But sometimes it just makes you feel bad. You're drunk, you shack up, then it's the whole morning thing, 'Hey, that was fun,' and then adios. Always the adios. But when you get down to it, what's the big deal? Sure, there's the touching and the feeling all of each other, my hands everywhere, tracing every inch of her body. The two of us moving together, pressing, pulling, grinding, and then you hit that sweet spot and everything just builds, builds and builds until it all just (makes a sound of explosion). But the whole thing was just a little too sticky.
- Vesta: What is wrong with you?
- Sam: What?
- Vesta: Your liver. It..it's no good. Dear boy, you're all duct tape and safety pins inside! How are you alive?
- Dean: (to Suzy) I've seen a lot of awful things, stuff of nightmares, but you? You're the good dreams. The things you can do. The scene with the tacos. It made want to join a mariachi band just to be near you.
- Jody: (to Sam and Dean) I'd tell you boys to stay out of trouble, but what's the point?
- Sam still doesn't know about Ezekiel being inside his body and keeping him alive.
- Dean is still questioning whether or not to reveal Ezekiel's existence to Sam.
- Jody mentions Bobby dying, and Crowley almost killing her.
- Ezekiel makes a brief cameo at the very end of this episode.
- This is the first time in Season 9 that the brothers face off against a Deity.
- Lindy Booth who played Bonnie/Vesta, appeared with Jared Padalecki in the 2005 horror movie Cry Wolf.
- The motel the boys and Jody stay in is called "MacArthy's Scottish Motel". It is probably a shoutout to Johnny MacArthy who directed the episode.
- Suzy's porn name was Carmelita, and the DVDs Dean finds are from the Casa Erotica series and are called "Cabana Nights" and "Tequila Bun Rise".
- Apparently the crew started filming this episode before the season premiere.
- The stake used to kill Chronos in Time After Time was created by vestal virgins. These are priestesses of Vesta. Jody also helped Sam and Dean fight Chronos.
- Jared Padalecki co-starred with Lindy Booth, who plays Bonnie, in the film Cry_Wolf.