Sam might be knocking on death's door but Dean won't let that happen without a fight.
After yet another week (seriously, another week) without any new about Amara or Lucifer, Sam has found a case. After some hikers were found dead with their hearts missing, the Winchesters ask around town and the trail eventually leads into the woods where they find the missing couple, Corbin and Michelle. The two were taken by werewolves and though Sam and Dean get the upper hand, one of them manages to shoot Sam in the stomach before Dean can finish him off. Sam is hurt pretty bad, Michelle is in pretty rough shape and they still have a few miles to go before they can get to the car. Corbin knows that Dean won't leave Sam behind so he smothers Sam while Dean is getting wood to make a stretcher for Sam. After Dean finds his brother's lifeless body on the floor, his first instinct is to fight but Corbin convinces him to help them get to safety. Dean has them to safety by the next morning but gets tasered and taken to the hospital with Corbin and Michelle. Back at the cabin, Sam is still very much alive but may not be for much longer when two other werewolves come to clean up the mess of their pack. Meanwhile at the hospital, the doctor sees that Corbin has a strange bite mark on his arm but he somehow feels better than ever. Still under the impression that Sam is dead, Dean takes a mouthful of pills and tries to convince the reaper Billy that she should spare his brother but she's one reaper that is not willing to make a deal or let him go back to the land of the living.
Though it had its moments, Red Meat couldn't help but stumble through most of the episode. As usual, the boys have nothing on Amara or Lucifer. As the two most powerful being walking the earth, they seem to be doing very little with their time. Anyways, Sam getting shot early was a great start to the episode and immediately set the tone but as soon as they got to the next cabin, things started to fall apart. Corbin, in his desire to save Michelle, was more than willing to kill one of the two men that saved his life only moments before. We think that Sam may be dead (we never do but I'll get to that part soon) so Dean saves Corbin and Michelle once he believes his brother is dead. From then on, Dean is desperately trying to bargain with a reaper who hates him while Sam is still alive and apparently, an ass kicking machine even with a hole in his stomach. He still manages to get to the hospital the next day, after driving himself, and save Dean's life after Corbin went full werewolf.
Speaking of death and reapers, Supernatural's attempt to make us believe that either Sam or Dean will permanently die is laughable after eleven seasons. Just to illustrate that point, there was a montage of Dean's deaths in the recap leading into the episode. The problem with killing a character and bringing them back to life so any times is that death has lost all meaning to the Winchesters. We know that other characters can perma die but not these two. After reading that Supernatural was renewed for its twelfth season, death is a really a moot point. With that in mind, no matter what the show plans to do with Billy the reaper it will be pointless. Her threats to Dean mean nothing and it just takes up time in the episode.
Besides that, the supporting characters were a mixed bag as well. As Michelle and Corbin, Erin Way and Blair Penner did just fine. Way had a lot more range to her character in Michelle than Penner in with Corbin but then things get dicey from there. Michelle mentioned that Corbin wasn't always a killer and that he did that for her but that wasn't exactly true. He was more than willing to kill Sam and he even tried to reason to Dean that three lives were worth more than one. After he turned into a werewolf (which took less than day...if that) he was full on killing spree. Elsewhere, the bartender Rose (played by Suki Kaiser) also threw me for a loop. Sam and Dean always impersonate FBI agents on every case yet she told them where to look when they had no clue. Why would the werewolves want to attract the attention of missing federal agents if they killed them? They didn't know they faking it didn't make sense.
Besides a good concept, Red Meat was lukewarm at best. What the episode did do is expose a lot of the issues that the show needs to deal with in a way that satisfies fans and fits the story. We'll see what happens on next week's episode, Hell's Angel.