If I didn’t know better, I’d think Supernatural was actually making fun of itself this week. ‘Red Meat’ felt like a parody of Dean’s inability to live in a world without Sam, only for Billie to appear and tell him that, this time, there will be no way around it.

WARNING: This review contains spoilers

Billie the Ripper is probably one of the most relevant characters this season has introduced. Rippers are a species that Supernatural has toyed with every now and then, but they never really had a clear consistent role to play in the series. The only ripper that has had any consistency in the series would be Tessa, but even her character only showed up when it was convenient to the plot. Billie, however, seems to be a cloud over Dean and Sam’s heads that keeps reminding that, this time, if they die, they’re not coming back. Even if the series has been renewed for a twelfth season, I see Billie as the first indication that the end is near, which is why I expected her promise to come into play in the series finale. I was actually afraid that having Sam and Dean fool her in a regular monster-of-the-week episode would weaken her impact in the storyline, but the show actually managed to dodge the bullet this time: Sam had only gone into shock and Dean was saved by the doctor at the last minute. When it comes down to it, the only purpose of ‘Red Meat’ was to make Dean realize that Billie isn’t just playing hard to get, she’s for real. And she doesn’t care if they’re the only option to stop the Darkness either.

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‘Red Meat’ also offered some interesting things, like the fact that they showcased how selfish and ruthless some humans can be in times of desperation. Fortunately for us, Sam is a badass. He’ll tend to his own wound, he’ll escape from a couple werewolves and he’ll even drive the Impala back to the hospital while he’s at it. Seeing him do all of that on his own also emphasized how stupid it was for Dean to kill himself in a desperate attempt to save his not-so-little-anymore brother.

Aside from that, everything else in this episode felt pretty standard-Supernatural. There were werewolves and Dean broke the show’s strike by going back to hiding things from Sam. There were also many elements that almost felt like the writers were trying to make us realize (as if we hadn’t already) how ridiculous it is that Sam and Dean are so used to dying. From the dying montage in the opening sequence to Dean’s “I’ll come back for you”, followed by him killing himself to talk to a reaper, everything proved that Dean has become a little too comfortable with dying. At some point, he lost the respect and fear death should evoke in any human, and Billie is here to pull the rug from under his feet.