Supernatural Busts out the Ancient History Books

It's the best part of every season: in the middle of an increasingly trying slump, Supernatural looks around, puts on its big boy flannel, and decides to stop sucking. Satan's baby momma is still on the loose and Team Free Will is still taking their good old time in getting back to that particular hunt, but Momma Mary (Samantha Smith) has been busy making frenemies while Sam ( Jared Padalecki) and Dean ( Jensen Ackles) avoided engaging with the overall narrative this season. All of those recent episodes that insisted on navel-gazing at Castiel's ( Misha Collins) repeatedly well-documented slide into humanity -- Do you sense my frustration here, Supernatural? DO YOU? -- were building toward something after all. Dean's latest scrape with mortality might have been a total dud, but the man-angst was flowing in "Stuck in the Middle (With You)" when Supernatural decided to kill Castiel.

Again.

Castiel's mortal peril works where Sam and Dean's no longer has the same cachet because frankly, he just hasn't been killed off as many times and as a "celestial being" that is "roughly the size of the Chrysler building" when he isn't wearing a meat suit, Castiel isn't the sort of character one expects to see facing certain death every other week. He certainly isn't supposed to bite it on what everyone assumed was a run of the mill demon hunt.

Supernatural goes through the motions of man angst.

That basic demon hunt turned out to be anything but when the gang's target showed us his pretty yellow eyes and visions of Azazel -- RIP since season 2-- started dancing in our heads. Turns out, Azazel's status as THE Yellow-Eyed Demon and ultimate baddie for, well, just about all of Supernatural's early seasons, was a bit of an exaggeration of his importance. It's a class thing. Supernatural rewrote its own mythology by introducing the Princes of Hell: the First Class to Lucifer's Charles Xavier. These are the demons who were created right after Lilith -- RIP since season 4-- and before the badass red-eyed Knights -- RIP since season 9-- and while there were, and are, several of them still around, they just didn't care as much about the whole perfect-vessel-special-children-let's-free-Lucifer-and-cause-Armageddon conspiracy as much as Azazel did, which is why we're just learning about them ten seasons later. Sure.

I can't be mad though. When Supernatural rewrites its own mythology, it tends to do it very well. The Men of Letters ripped a hole in the fabric of the series' reality that continues to get bigger, deeper, and better as the seasons go on (and on and on and on). Mary Winchester's hunting pedigree turned twelve seasons of Winchester family lore on its head and she very quickly evolved from a sort of mythical, reverential, untouchable figure to a complicated, flawed, and human character in her own right.

Supernatural proves there's no going back for Castiel.

It was Mary's own side-mission that got her hunter-buddy-of-the-week killed and almost got Castiel and her sons killed. Mary Winchester has struggled with finding a place in a world that moved on thirty years after her death and her uneasy alliance with the British Men of Letters feels like the sort of organic bad decision making that led Sam to work with Ruby in the wake of Dean's death. She has been forced into an impossible situation and she isn't coping well. Her support systems are gone. The boys she was supposed to mother grew up without her and are more experienced and knowledgeable about the world she's been thrust back into, but she struggles with reaching out to them because they're both still those little boys she died on, as well as grown-ass men who are total strangers. The British Men of Letters are selling a bill of goods she can get behind, and she very much wants to make her own way in her new reality, but the fact that she still couldn't bring herself to reveal the real mission to her family even after it all went to hell, reveals the level of internal struggle she's been dealing with off-screen during the last few weeks of stagnated storytelling.

AND THEN HER MISSION WAS TO STEAL THE COLT. THAT'S RIGHT. THAT COLT.

To recap: out of the darkness of Filler Land, Supernatural gave us a new class of demon to worry about, mortal peril that actually felt perilous, THE COLT, aaaand Lucifer ( Mark Pellegrino) locked in Crowley's ( Mark Shepppard) basement and bringing the sass. I'm just so happy right now, you guys.

Supernatural airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Feb 19, 2017
Ah - that old Deus Ex Machina rearing it's massive head again

One of the major characters are about to perish and then another character suddenly remembers a crytic message from a villain thus allowing them to save said character

That episode blew

They killed the red shirt (were we supposed to cared about that guy's death??????)

Then they teased us YET AGAIN with another fake-out death of Cas

How many times can the writers repeat this nonsense? stop making the main characters close to death if you're just gonna keep turning it around at the last minute with a terrible explanation

Why can't these characters just be in peril without having to be on death's door EVERY SINGLE TIME :/

This show seriously needs to die - it's getting fucking ridiculous
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Feb 18, 2017
Geez, Mama Winchester is hiding what she's really doing from her sons. I guess it's genetic and that's where Sam and Dean get it from. Does she even know her son's history with the colt and that Dean used it to avenge her death by killing Azael with it?
Castiel professing his love for them as he lay dying was a first. We all know these guys love each other, but none of them ever actually say it.--even in the face of death.
I'd also like to note that Richard Speight Jr. directed this episode.
I assume Lucifer, the Lucifer baby mama drama and the British Men of Letters will somehow all come together leading into the end of the season. Something there has to shape up as whatever the showdown will be in the finale.

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Feb 17, 2017
I had soooo many issues with this episode. The retconning, the Tarantino style (I like his films, but this was weird, especially the music), the fact that Lucifer is in a side cage in hell and in Nick's disintegrated meat suit (how??), the glowing red eyes that Lucifer now has (makes me laugh every time) and Cas now practically crying for the second episode in a couple of months. Isn't he an angel with little emotions? He's not human anymore! The slo-mo walk. I'll stop.
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Feb 17, 2017
The show also rewrote its own mythology with regards to Crowley as well. It always seemed that after Lucifer and Michael were imprisoned in the cage Crowley seized the throne by his own greed and ambition. Here, it is revealed that he sought out the Princes of Hell and it was Ramiel that gave him the idea. Honestly, I wish they had left that part out because it does kind of take away some of that ambition from Crowley's character.
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