In 'Family Matters,' the brothers search for more info on Sam's lost soul and find nothing but trouble
Supernatural Family Matters
Credit: Michael Courtney/The CW
Devil's Bargain

Well, we wanted answers, and we certainly got them. Happy? I am.

I’m also fully aware that the developments we saw this week will polarize fans. (You’ll either love them or hate them.) What can’t be denied by either side, however, is that we’re at the point in the season where the plot was in need of a second wind, and we got exactly that. We learned where Sam’s soul is being kept, which means the boys are now on a quest to retrieve it. We learned that Grandpa Campbell is being puppet mastered by Crowley, and now we’re left to await the trouble that doomed deal will produce. And we learned that Crowley apparently has a part-time job as a hell-based property developer who has his eyes set on purgatory. (I have no follow-up thoughts on that except that I always knew he struck me as a smarmy realtor type.)

But that’s just the quick of it, and if Supernatural has taught us anything, it’s that the journey is as important as the destination. (Woah! Hello, wisdom.) So let’s start at the very beginning.

We picked up with the story immediately following the epic beating Dean gave Sam last week. A bleary-eyed Sam, who was tied to a chair, worked his way to consciousness as Castiel hovered over him. (Not a bad thing to wake up to, really.) He looked rough, which led me to ponder exactly how Dean hauled his sasquatch butt back to the motel room. Oh, mysteries…

Also a mystery — to Dean and Cas, at least — was exactly what ailed Sam. They gave away the answer to this in the preview last week, and it has been hinted all season, so we knew Sam had no soul. But Castiel M.D. needed his own diagnosis. So after a series of very Cas questions (“Are you speaking in tongues? [To Dean] Is he speaking in tongues?”) he decided to do an angel cavity search and stuck his hand inside Sam’s chest to confirm his suspicions. Yup, soulless.

“Is he even still Sam?” Dean asked after learning of the grave diagnosis. “You pose an interesting philosophical question,” Castiel answered, shooting a wary glance at Sam, who wore an expression that made him look like an elementary school kid sent to the principal’s office. But this was so much more than just being in hot water. This was his essence at stake, and he needed it back. Unfortunately, Castiel said, that wouldn’t be done easily — if at all — because his soul was likely still in Lucifer’s cage. Whatever brought Sam back, forgot to let him gather his things first.

There was work to be done, and Sam wanted to get started, so he asked to be released from his restraints. “How am I even supposed to let you out of this room?” Dean said. “Dean, I’m not some psycho. I didn’t want you to get hurt. I just wanted to stop the vamps,” Sam pleaded, referring to his ULTIMATE BETRAYAL. (Okay, I thought I was over it because it has been two weeks. Clearly, I’m not.) If Dean had it his way, Sam would have been locked up until he was soul-ed up again, but Sam released himself with ease. “You’re stuck with the soulless guy, so you might as well work with me.”

NEXT: The healing power of Cas.

So Cas healed his injuries (cop out! Can’t these boys keep a manly bruise or two every now and then?) and they set off to grandpa’s house, erm, bunker.

Upon arrival, they realized there was something big afoot because a team of hunters was prepping for a major fight. “Gramps throw a barbecue and leave us off the E-vite list?” Dean quipped.

By the end of their talk with Samuel (who passed a Castiel-approved soul search), they’d learn the only thing scheduled to be smoked was the Alpha vamp himself. “You didn’t call me? Why?” Sam said, looking insulted. Gramps didn’t have to respond with words because a single glance told Dean everything. “It’s because of me,” Dean said. “You don’t trust me very much, do you?”

This was more than an issue of trust, though. It was more about control. Grandpa Camp knew that Dean didn’t trust him. If he were to give Dean instructions, he knew Dean would ultimately do what he wanted and do what felt right. So Dean gave Samuel his word that if he was allowed to go on the hunt, he would let him call the shots in the field. “I trust you,” he said.

Outside, he dropped the act (and that smoldering, half-lidded Dean “trust me” face that we all see through by now): “I don’t trust him.…if you weren’t Robo-Sam, you’d feel it, too,” he told Sam. Despite Dean’s reservations, the brothers decided to stay because Samuel was their only possible lead to more information about Sam’s soul.

Desperate to learn more, Dean proceeded to break into his grandfather’s locked office, but his attempt was foiled by Christian, who has had it out for Dean since day one (and if we’re being honest, the feeling was mutual). “You walk around like you’re playing pro-tennis. The only action you’ve seen lately is between your slut girlfriend’s legs.” The bold statement earned Christian a slam against a wall and a steely look from Dean. There was no fight, though… disappointingly. Too bad Christian later wouldn’t walk away so easy from a fight with the Alpha…

At the hunt, Dean got stuck in reject zone with Gwen upon Samuel’s orders, but grandpa was correct to assume earlier that Dean would not follow instructions. When he heard gunfire from the house where the Alpha was staying, Dean ran toward it to find massive vamp carnage. When he heard the other hunters exiting the house, he hid behind a wall and saw what we did in episode 2 of this season: Grandpa Campbell had captured — not killed — the Alpha.

Dean later questioned Sam about the hunt, and he turned on the anger when Sam lied about the capture of the Alpha. When cornered, Sam admitted: “You weren’t supposed to know about that.” He then explained that Samuel had been taking Alphas alive to grill them for info and that it had been his idea — not gramps’ — to keep the info from Dean. “You know better than this!” Dean said, calling Sam out on his lack of instinct regarding the situation. “You’re seriously messed up.”

By then of their arguement, Dean had met his quota on lies and invited Sam to leave, saying, “No one is forcing you to work with me.” (Insert fans’ cries here: “Yes, yes we are. WORK WITH HIM, DAMN IT! If you think for one second you’re going to separate again…”) Despite my pleas for Dean to shut the hell up, he continued, “Or, you know what, go with Samuel. See how that goes. It’s up to you.” So Sam chose, and I wasn’t happy. Well, I wasn’t at first…

NEXT: You can stop writing the angry Tweets.

Sam walked into Grandpa’s bunker and told him about his falling out Dean, adding that because he had nothing to lose, he wanted in on the interrogations. But Samuel resisted. “Until we figure out this soul business of yours, I need you to keep doing what you’re doing,” he said, rejecting the offer of help.

Sam walked out seemingly defeated — but instead slipped into Dean’s car. (And we cheered/stopped writing our angry Tweets.) He had tried to bait Samuel into taking him to the Alpha, but when that failed, Sam had swiped one of Samuel’s cell phones so they could track the GPS to figure out where they were keeping the Alpha. (His four years at Stanford continue to pay for themselves.)

Once inside the building where it was being kept, the brothers spotted Samuel working his torture magic on the caged Alpha vampire with little success. After Samuel left the room, the vampire invited Sam and Dean to come out of their hiding spots to speak with him, but they had roughly the same level of success as Samuel did in intimidating him. The vamp did, however, volunteer some information.

For one, he revealed that Samuel was capturing Alphas to get information on the location of Purgatory. After Alphas die, the vamp said, their soulless forms get sent there for eternity. But, the brothers asked, why did Samuel need this info? It turned out that he didn’t — but Crowley did.

After the Alpha’s inevitable escape — he was completely unfazed by his form of restraint the entire time — we found our group hunters down by two. One random guy was killed and Christian got his neck snapped. But moments after we saw him fall to the ground, he rose with black eyes and saved Sam’s life. Then Crowley appeared, and plot bombs began to drop.

The recently crowned King of Hell had formed an agreement with Samuel after he pulled both him and Sam out of hell. (Boom!) Knowing Samuel was an expert in “all things creepy and crawly,” he had yanked him to help capture Alphas. (Boom!) So Dean and Sam had been technically helping Crowley the whole time. (Boom! Boom!) If they stopped now, Crowley threatened to put Sam back into hell. If they helped, he would give him back his soul. (Boom! Boom! Boom! Total mind destruction complete.)

After the mindblowing developments, Sam didn’t want to let Samuel get away with selling them out, but Dean told him to back down. As Samuel left, they weighed their options: Work for Crowley or kill him and have no way of retrieving Sam’s soul? They obviously chose the former, but they weren’t happy about it.

NEXT: So many questions! Plus, the episode’s best lines.

So now we’re left to wonder: As Dean inquired, why is Samuel indebted to Crowley? What did Samuel get out of it (besides, obviously, time on Earth)? What is Crowley cooking up in hell? What’s so important about Purgatory besides the fact that he wants it? Is this the end of the Alpha Vamp’s “big plans” for Sam? (Doubtful.) AND SO MUCH MORE!

On a less intense note, are you looking forward to seeing more of Dean’s incredibly creepy visions from his time as a vamp come true? What did you think of Dean’s bossy side? Frankly, I’m not used to seeing him act that way. I can’t decide if it was incredibly hot or too whiny for my liking. Do you think Dean’s priorities in life are girls, money, and hair (in that order)? And most importantly, do you think some fanfic writer is already hard at work on something titled “Castiel M.D.”?

One final note: I didn’t think I’d miss it as much as I do, but we need to find the leather jacket (which was rumored to have gone missing). Shall we launch an official investigation?


“I’m sorry; One more time — like I’m 5.” — Dean

“Hello, Newman.” — Dean to Christian

Samuel to Castiel: You’re scrawnier than I pictured

Castiel: This is a vessel. My true form is approximately the size of your Chrysler Building.”

Dean: All right, all right. Quit bragging.

“You’re a hell of a hunter, Sam, but the truth is sometimes you scare me.” — Samuel

“Of course, your problems always come first.” — Castiel

Christian: Who you callin’?

Dean: Your wife. Let her know I’m not going to make it over tonight.

“I’m in the rear with the reject?” — Gwen

Sam: You didn’t think I’d come back.

Dean: I figured 60/40.

Dean: The old man won’t notice?

Sam: Trust me; he thinks Velcro is big news.

Alpha Vamp: When we freaks die, where do we go? Not heaven. Not hell. So…

Dean: Legoland?

“If the old man’s Kermit, whose hand’s up his ass?” – Dean

“I don’t keep Captain Chromedome around for his wit now, do I?” — Crowley

“We clear? Me: Charlie. You: Angels.” — Crowley

“Do what’s so important that you’re the King of Hell’s cabana boy, huh? What did he offer you? Girls? Money? Hair?” — Dean

On Twitter: @EWSandraG

Episode Recaps

Devil's Bargain

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.

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