Last week, it was angels. This week it’s the other side of the coin stepping to the forefront as one particularly bad-ass demon reminds the Winchesters that they were causing havoc long before the brothers knew angels even existed.

Crowley’s less than comfortable accommodations

Taking a break in their journey back to the bunker, Dean fills Sam in on what’s been going on with Castiel and Crowley. Having the residing King of Hell as the “junk in [his] trunk”, Dean believes they can get some good intel on Lucifer’s replacement, working some “Zero Dark Thirty” on the trussed up troublemaker to get him talking. They take him back to the bunker and throw him into the dungeon, demanding he offer them the names of all the demons on earth and their respective ‘covers’, i.e. meat suits. He’s not willing to give things up so easily though and Sam appeals to the human part of the demon he saw during the purification ritual in last year’s finale. Quick to brush that aside, Crowley rejects their offer. The Winchesters leave him in the dark to ruminate alone with his twisted thoughts.

While Sam and Dean are busy questioning Crowley and spreading the word on the brave new world out there, full of “confused, loose nukes” running around in the form of angels, one initiative filled demon performs some hellish mojo to return Abbadon, a Knight of Hell, back to the land of the living. Abbadon ends up giving a power speech to four demons, promising changes, for Hell to live up to its reputation for taking, not making deals like the“salesman” Crowley. One of those most loyal to Crowley challenges her new authority and is sent back to hell for her troubles. Abbadon doesn’t waste time keeping her promises, helping the remaining demons hijack three new meat suits, Special Forces soldiers, before kidnapping a young hunter shortly thereafter.

Earlier research targeting strange occurrences bring the Winchesters across the soldiers’s disappearance along with the three old bodies left in their place. They run into a hard ass female MP and are saved by a quick-thinking Kevin’s hacker skills to gain them access to the scene. Catching a glimpse of the surveillance tape, the brothers are shocked to discover the once flambéed Abbadon is alive and well. Speaking of the red-headed Hell Knight, she contacts the brothers via Kevin and tells them that Herb (an older hunter) and Tracey (the spit-fire vamp killer hunter) are lambs for the slaughter unless the two brothers offer themselves up, an obvious trap.

After relaying Abbadon’s message to Sam and Dean, Kevin gets to researching how to kill a Knight of Hell. The research leads him into close proximity of Crowley. It doesn’t take long for his jibes to weaken Kevin’s resolve to stay away from him. Crowley rips at Kevin’s weaknesses and after taking a beating from the prophet, is only more determined to use his manipulative tongue to crush Kevin. He dangles the carrot of Kevin’s mother still being alive to entice the prophet to let him go. Never one to let the upper hand go, continues to strike, a master of his craft, at Kevin’s insecurities. According to Crowley, Kevin’s nothing more than cannon fodder for the Winchesters, an expendable asset to be discarded without a second thought. As all devils, he mixes in the slightest of truths, no matter how outdated, with the chinks in his victim’s armor.

Cutting back to Sam and Dean, the brothers arrive at the assigned area (just outside Eugene, Oregon), an abandoned part of town closed down due to a chemical spill years prior. They quickly find the tied up Tracy and Herb before the three armed soldiers make their way down the street.

3-to-1…The odds are not in Sam’s favor

The four hunters split up to flank their adversaries with Dean accompanying Tracey after the mouthy cutie refuses to work with Sam, blaming him for the death of her family due to the Lucifer fiasco. As they double back through town, Dean tells Tracey that, as hunters, they can only do what they feel is right at the time and sometimes bad things happen because of those decisions. It doesn’t make them bad, just human. “You gotta know who the real monsters in the world are, kid” he admonishes and the heart behind his words reach past her anger and resentment. The moment doesn’t last long as bullets start flying; Herb is the first casualty and Sam gets taken in a three on one beat down. Tracey and Dean run into Abbadon, and when he tells Tracey to get the car for some much needed firepower, he gets taken down by the charged up demon.

The Knight of Hell’s request is simple; give her Crowley and she’ll kill Dean quickly. Don’t cooperate and she promises to use her as her personal vessel, making him watch as she rains carnage down upon the innocent. Her diabolical threats are interrupted when Ezekial makes his appearance shortly after Sam is KO’d. The angel dispatches of the three demons and, after checking in on his brother, Dean is again reminded of the weirdness of Sam’s current condition. He hopes Ezekial is one of the good guys and the angel offers the hunter strength, giving Dean the assurance that he is doing right by Sam based on the latter’s own thoughts.

They arrive back at the bunker and Crowley offers up two demon names as payment for the fun Kevin provided him. Worried about the effect the demon’s words had on Kevin, Dean intercepts the prophet as he tries to leave. The conversation that follows is one of the best scenes in recent memory where Dean explains to Kevin just how much he means to them. He wants Kevin to stay because it’s dangerous out there but not because he’s an asset, rather “you’re family”. Both he and Sam would die for Kevin and lets him know that “You, me, Sam, and Cas…we are all we got.” It’s another reminder that the premise behind ‘Supernatural’ is, at its heart, a story about family and the lengths one goes to protect those they love.

The tale ends with Sam and Dean chatting about the upcoming craziness over a drink. When Dean asks Sam how he’s feeling, the youngest Winchester tells his brother “I am happy with my life for the first time in…forever. Things are good,” he finishes up with a torn Dean adding “Never better”, still burdened by the secrets he’s keeping.

How long Sam remains happy remains to be seen.

Family, Love, and Pop…Culture, that is

  • The last five minutes of the show was a reminder to not only the series as a whole but for the immediate future. Yes, they are fighting the good fight, but not for those around them. They are fighting for each other; for family. It’s a testament to Kripke and company that ‘Supernatural’ has maintained its higher vision so clearly after nine years of Hell and high water.
  • It’s pretty evident that, despite his deliciously devilish ways, the ritual performed to cleanse Crowley’s soul awakened an aspect of his humanity buried under centuries of being corrupted in Hell. The episode title itself foreshadows to the softening of the former Crossroads con man and the possibility of that humanity becoming more pronounced as the season moves forward.
  • ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, ‘Silkwood’ were all woven into the insanely smart and fun dialogue ‘Supernatural’ has always been known for. Even in the face if the worst odds, such lines engages us, even making us laugh when we should be cowering under our beds (figuratively, of course).