Secret societies are just popping out all over the place lately. This week, we add not one, but two more to last week's Men of Letters.
The story begins with a Nazi camp in Belarus during World War II. The Nazis are all sitting around, feeling superior, until an absolutely huge man breaches their security and kills just about everyone there. He seems pretty indestructible, so the commandant of the camp works some kind of magic spell to escape from the place.
Cut to the present day, when Sam and Dean have found the secret hideout of the Men of Letters. It's long abandoned, but the accommodations inside are still pretty sweet. Dean lusts over the stash of swords while Sam geeks out over all the books, just in case you had any doubts as to where the hunter/bookworm line was going to be drawn. Sam comes across a file on a European organization called the Judah Initiative, who were like the Men of Letters, but with yarmulkes instead of fezzes. Their last member, Rabbi Barney Miller, recently died when he spontaneously combusted in a crowded bar. Sam and Dean take on the case and retraces the rabbi's last steps.
This brings them to a college library, where Rabbi Barney Miller has hidden a secret Nazi ledger that was thought to have been destroyed that night in Belarus. They also meet the rabbi's grandson Aaron and the living-clay golem his grandpa bequeathed him. He is the giant of a man we saw in the teaser. He is also extremely crabby, barking at Aaron to take control. Alas, Aaron is completely out of his element and ignorant of much of his Jewish/magical heritage. This leaves the golem vulnerable when that Nazi commandant shows up, having aged not a day, and takes the scroll from his mouth. Just before he can write his name on the scroll and this take control of the golem, the Winchesters manage to kill him. Their problems are just beginning, though, because the commandant was only one of untold numbers of Nazi necromancers called the Thule Society.
At the end, Aaron decides to step up and take control of his golem and pick up where his grandpa left off. The Winchesters have a new library full of stuff they can sit around reading aloud to us, as well as the ledger which exposes the Thule Society's secrets. Are you ready for all the exposition that's to come? Are you? Stay tuned for the full recap. P.S. The only Hitler in this episode is in the title.
THEN! Henry Winchester traveled from 1958 to 2013 and met his grandsons, Sam and Dean. He was probably like, "Holy crap, men sure are taking good care of themselves in the future!" Henry came from a long (and heretofore unknown) line of Men of Letters, a secret society dedicated to sipping tea and chronicling the supernatural. To Henry's initial disappointment, his grandsons ended up hunters. He was entrusted with a secret key and lost his life to a demon named Abaddon while protecting it. In his last, symbolic act, he passed the key on to Sam.
That brings us up to speed for this week, which begins in Vitsyebsk, Belarus in 1944. Sometimes I forget that countries outside the US exist on this show, so it was quite a shock seeing this. We follow a man on a motorcycle to an ivy-covered estate that would make a pleasant little B&B, if not for all the Nazi flags and SS cars parked outside. "Heil Hitler," the motorcycling Nazi greets the guard. "You're late," the guard says in German. After learning that his fellow soldier has been spending time with a lady, he wishes for him to get the clap. Oh, he's about to get a lot worse than that, don't you worry! The motorcycling Nazi wanders off towards the security post. As the guard tries in vain to light a cigarette, the sound of very heavy footfalls gets nearer. The guard looks up, and up some more. He screams.
The motorcycling Nazi glances up from his post just in time to see the guard come flying through the window, bloody and broken. A man or something like it lurks in the shadows beyond. The surviving Nazi sounds the alarm.
Somewhere inside, an SS officer pours a jar of melted redcurrant jam into a metal bowl. He looks more than a little bit like Henry Winchester, but it's apparently just an accident of casting and not a sign of something sinister in the family history. He seems none too pleased to hear the alarm. How is he ever going to finish his Berliner recipe with all these distractions! Several other men are in the room with him -- manning a radio, jotting notes in a ledger and so on. They all look like they're about to drop some bratwursts in their shorts. "The thing won't go down!" says the one at the radio. "It broke through the line at the east gate!" Frantic screams and prolific gunfire can be heard coming from outside. One man takes the ledger and locks it in a briefcase. The radio operator shouts, "Commandant, it tore Richter in half!" Andy, nooooo! "My God, what is it?" asks one man. "It is coming to kill you, soldier," says the commandant. "I suggest you ready your weapon." Three soldiers upend a table, crouch behind it and aim their firearms at the door. The commandant continues on with his recipe, sprinkling a little nutmeg and cinnamon into the bowl to accentuate the flavor. "Damn you, sorcerers of Abraham," he says. The soldiers give each other looks like, "Commandant is cray-cray." They hear the heavy footfalls approaching and gape at the door. The commandant lights a candle and chants in Latin over the bowl.