Dean dying isn’t anything new, but this time he does it so he can talk to Death and make a deal to get Sam’s soul back. When Death agrees on the condition that Dean take his place for a day, it’s all rainbows and lollipops at first. An a-hole robbing a store and threatening to shoot a little kid? No problem, Dean even waits a few minutes to enjoy that one. Stupid guy eating fatty foods he knows he’s not supposed to? Nothing to it.
Things get tougher though when Dean has to take the life of a little girl and sees the mess that happens when he refuses to do it. By trying to save a life, all he ends up doing is ruining another and the pain he was trying to prevent doesn’t go away, it just gets transferred and expands.
Meanwhile, Soulless Sam is busy trying to save his own life, as wacky as that sounds. He’s a different guy than the brother Dean wants back and, feeling as though Dean is going to "kill" him, he makes his own deal. Sam making a deal, whether it be with a demon or angel, is nothing new, what was new was him agreeing to patricide (the act of killing one’s father).
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