[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of Supernatural, "Our Father, Who Aren't in Heaven." Read at your own risk!]
It's not even Christmas yet but that didn't stop Supernatural from delivering one hell of a holiday gift before heading into the winter hiatus. Thursday's midseason finale found Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Castiel (Misha Collins) traveling to Hell and landing right in front of a familiar, and most welcome, face: Rowena (Ruth Connell). [Insert inhuman scream here.]
The episode featured a huge breakthrough for Sam, Dean, and Castiel, who realized that while they probably couldn't kill God (Rob Benedict) -- doing so would essentially undo the universe -- they might be able to seal him away for eternity much like Chuck did with his sister, Amara (Emily Swallow), before she was set free at the end of Season 10. They could do so with the demon tablet, a secret weapon sitting right under their nose.
Unable to read the markings, which were dictated by God himself, the trio turned to the prophet Donatello (Keith Szarabajka), who revealed that Chuck has a major weakness and only his favorite son, Michael, knew what it was. But things are never simple on Supernatural, so Team Free Will had their work cut out for them. In addition to being trapped in Lucifer's cage for a decade, Michael had also been using Sam and Dean's half-brother Adam (Jake Abel) as his vessel, which meant that an extremely uncomfortable family reunion was on the horizon.
Before they got to that long-awaited moment, though, the trio found themselves at the feet of hell's newest ruler, Rowena. Her final act saving the world wasn't enough to get her into Heaven, so naturally her soul was sent to the underworld instead. But leave it to the resilient witch to flourish in the torturous environment and seize control of the throne, a mantle previously held by the delectably villainous Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) and her own deceased son Crowley (Mark Sheppard).
Shooting down Sam's attempt at an apology, Rowena maintained that he did her a solid when he plunged that knife into her stomach. The fiery-haired sorceress is thriving in her new position and absolutely relishing in the legion of demonic souls who now worship her. It's a role that the Winchesters didn't expect to see her in but absolutely makes sense. Even Chuck thinks so.
"Maybe there's a part of Chuck that's happy about that. [It] makes sense to him that she would be there as long as she doesn't cross him," Rob Benedict told TV Guide. "Chuck had said that she's his guilty pleasure, so maybe he's quietly rooting for her."
Although, Chuck probably wouldn't cheer for Rowena in this episode, which found her not only helping the Winchesters in their search for Michael, but also urging Castiel and Dean to finally kiss and make up.
Anyway, it turned out that Michael, in Adam's body, escaped from Lucifer's cage when Chuck opened the gates of Hell at the end of last season. It took some convincing -- Castiel literally taunted him into a fight before forcing his memories of Chuck on the agitated archangel -- but Michael finally saw through Chuck's benevolent façade. It's unclear whether or not he has fully turned against his father, but Michael took a big step in that direction when he handed the Winchesters a spell to lock Chuck away forever.
Castiel's interrogation of Michael also allowed Sam and Dean to finally address the elephant in the room: the decade-long neglect of their younger brother, who'd been trapped in Hell with Michael. During that time, Adam and Michael bonded over their awful experiences with family, with Michael agreeing to let Adam come and go as he pleases. In one such instance, Michael gave the Winchesters a moment to try and apologize for leaving Adam in Lucifer's cage for all those years. Though that moment was cut short, Dean got another shot at reconciliation at the end of the episode.
"Adam, I want you to know we are sorry. What happened to you, you're a good man. You didn't deserve that," he told Adam. Dean was never great at expressing himself so to do so in this moment was a huge step for him. But like a true Winchester, Adam brushed off Dean's emotional plea.
"Since when do we get what we deserve?" Adam hit back before leaving. He might not have grown up with Sam and Dean, but he sure takes after them.
Supernatural returns Thursday, Jan. 16 at 8/7c on The CW.
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