We all know that making a deal with the literal devil isn’t the best of options but when an immortal demon has the both of you in the crosshairs, sometimes conventional wisdom needs to go the way of the do-do.

The preview starts up in Jasper Springs, Mississippi in 1863, at the height of the Civil War. A Confederate soldier barges into a cabin housed by two of his brethren, ordering them that the Knight must be protected at all costs. They’re joined by a scruffy and surly looking man who, after making short work of them, pulls out a wicked blade and makes his way further into the cabin.

Cain, the world’s first murderer

Back to the now and Dean sitting at the bar, hoping to run into Gadreel when Crowley stops by for a drink. After telling Dean that his target has run to ground, he fills Dean in on the First Blade; the only weapon that can kill a Knight of Hell. This would be a perfect time for the two of them to join up and, though he’s not too keen on it, Dean humors Crowley, using Papa Winchester’s journal that ends up leading the unlikely allies to a storage locker that may have some more information on the Blade. Dean takes the blindfolded Crowley there and though they don’t find much on the Blade, they find a name: Tara, the hunter that worked with John on his quest to find out about the Blade. They pay Tara a visit and, after a bit of chit chat where Dean tells her about the two of them working together to take out Abaddon, she tells them about the location spell, one that could pinpoint the Blade if not for missing a key ingredient (essence of Kraken). After she breaks the trap, Crowley picks up the final ingredient and the three do the spell. It points to Central Missouri and the two ready for the second half of their road trip. “Good luck, Dean,” Tara says, “you’re gonna need it.”

On to the other Winchester, Sam and Cas are shacking up at the Bunker with the angel contemplating just how different things taste and feel now that he’s gotten back some of his angelic mojo. He continues the healing therapy on Sam when he senses traces of angelic Grace left inside the youngest Winchester. Using the Men of Letters books, they realize they can track down Gadreel using the leftover Grace.

Dean and Crowley arrive in Missouri at a seemingly innocuous bee farm when the demon senses a gathering darkness about the place. The beekeeper is none other than Cain, the ‘Father of Murder’ and it would be in their best interest to hightail it out of there but before they can step away, Cain “invites” them into his house. While they’re waiting for Cain to return, Crowley gives Dean a quick tutorial on how Cain became the first—and worst—demon to walk the earth after killing Abel. Dean tells him about the tracking spell and Cain drops some more knowledge on the two. Namely, that he trained the Knights of Hell and, in turn, slaughtered them, not the archangels. Cain’s retired and aims to stay that way, dismissing the two of them. Dean’s not about to let things go so easily and tells Crowley they’ll be coming back to search the place once Cain’s gone.

Cas and Sam begin the painful extraction of Gadreel’s Grace

Sam’s ready to start up with “balancing the books”, still harboring guilt over not completing the trials. They start up with the extraction but the more that’s taken from Sam, the more his body reverts back to the damage the trials took on him. Though Cas wants him to stop, Sam tells the angel to keep going. “Please help me do one thing right.” Cas continues to remove the Grace but a single look at the PB&J he was eating early solidifies his decision and he fully heals Sam. Cas understands the guilt Sam feels as he’s the only one who’s “screwed things up more consistently” than the angel. “That PB&J showed me angels can change. Who knows, maybe Winchesters can, too.”

Back at the farm, Dean and Crowley continue their search, unaware of the same demon that was tracking them at the bar and later stopped by Tara’s is outside and calling for some demonic backup. Dean catches on to the fact that the portrait of Colette shares the same ring Cain is wearing. Though he can do more, Cain wipes his hands of helping Dean and Crowley. He’s shucking corn at the kitchen table and, when Dean asks for help, Cain believes the elder Winchester has lost a step so allows four of the demons in, three of which make a beeline for the only human in the house. Crowley takes care of his only opponent and, like Cain, watches Dean take out the other three one by one. Dean is pissed at Cain and asks if it was a test and Cain admits to having a connection with Dean from the start. He asks Dean why he saved Sam he tells him “Because you never give up on family. Ever.”

But there’s a slight problem; Cain doesn’t have the Blade anymore. He shows them the Mark of Cain, put there by Lucifer himself. The Biblical history is a bit more Winchester-y. Abel was being manipulated by Lucifer and, in order to prevent his brother from being corrupted, he offered himself up to become Lucifer’s soldier if Abel was given a place in hell. The one catch was that Cain had to deliver the killing blow. After centuries of destruction as a Knight, Colette was the one person able to reach Cain. When the Knights found out, they took her. He took them down one-by-one until Abaddon, in possession of Colette’s body destroyed his wife from the inside out. Though he wanted vengeance, he honored Colette’s wish for him to walk away from the all the death and destruction. He can’t pick up the Blade again, so he transferred the Mark to Dean as it’s the true power behind the Blade. “Good luck, Dean. You’re gonna need it,” he offers as there are always consequences…He tells Dean to look for the Blade at the bottom of the deepest ocean and, before teleporting the two awayin order for him to take care of the demon horde, Cain makes Dean promise to return and use the Blade on him for breaking his promise to Colette.

Cas and Sam try the locator spell but there’s not enough Grace to power it. Though he’s disappointed, Sam acknowledges that Cas was “right about everything.” The angel isn’t ready to give up, though, knowing that Metatron is the key to fixing everything that’s wrong.

Away from the madness and demonic fury of Cain, Cas drops a pertinent bit of knowledge on Dean. “Your problem is that nobody hates you more than you do.” He volunteers to search the oceans for the Blade but doesn’t get out before Dean calls him out; Crowley was playing him the entire time. Crowley’s not too concerned about Tara’s death and offers one warning…“After I kill Abaddon, you’re next.” The King of Hell disappears, his mission clear, while an unexpected pain from the Mark vibrates through Dean.

Truth and Consequences

  • Talk about an interesting and unique take on the tale of Cain and Abel. ‘Supernatural’ always has a way to freshen things up and this week was no different. Now that Dean has taken up the mantle once given to Cain, he will have to deal with the repercussions. There’s no such thing as something for free and methinks he’ll be paying for his decision in spades.
  • Speaking of decisions, Cas once again shows how much he’s changed in the last few years. When having to choose between Sam’s life and locating Gadreel, Cas does not hesitate to put Sam’s safety ahead of the mission. Being human has better allowed him to relate to humans. The old Cas would have kept going, “because the ends always justifies the means.” Though his decision complicates their search, it was the right one for all those involved.
  • One thing ‘Supernatural’ has never shied from is that our actions, whether selfish or altruistic, always have consequences. Some of these are expected but others—like Dean’s acceptance of the Mark—will affect us (and those around us) in ways we can’t possibly imagine.