The Winchesters battle a Prince of Hell and Lucifer returns
Stuck in the Middle (With You)
Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW
Devil's Bargain
S12 E12
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I’m not going to lie to you guys: Trying to recap this episode is a daunting task. Sure, it’s nowhere near as daunting as, say, fighting a Prince of Hell, but still, it’s not easy. So let’s get one thing out of the way: This was not a traditional episode. As far as Supernatural goes, there are really three general categories of episodes: monster of the week, mythology, and standalone. And although this was a monster-of-the-week episode, it did a lot for the mythology of the season (as good monster-of-the-week episodes tend to do).

But more than that, I want to praise this show for finding a way, after 12 years, to keep even the most basic formula interesting. The fact that I don’t know what to expect from a monster-of-the-week episode? Now that’s a feat worth recognizing.

What this episode did was take the story of one very eventful “hunt,” if you will, and chop it up into many different chapters, complete with time stamps and everything. (Think: Reservoir Dogs.) And I loved it. I think the method of storytelling, although unconventional, worked perfectly. However, for the purpose of this recap, I’m just going to take this hour and make it boring by putting the action in chronological order, because if you think the show’s mythology is confusing, try reading a recap that follows this hour step by step.

So, here’s the deal. Mary’s been working with the British Men of Letters, and so far, she feels pretty good about their partnership. They’re saving lives. All is good. But when she’s handed her next mission, she calls in Wally, a fellow hunter, for help. And by help, I mean that she wants Wally to pretend he’s found a demon and needs help, because if she were to call on Sam and Dean, they’d have questions. But if Wally asks for help, they’ll come willingly.

One call later, Sam, Dean, and Castiel join Mary and Wally for breakfast, where they multitask: They talk about the case while also trying to set Castiel up with their waitress, who is SUPER into it, by the way. But unfortunately for Castiel, they don’t have much time for flirting before they have to scout out the demon’s house.

It seems they’re hunting a demon of habit: He goes fishing at the same time each night. That’s when the team gets set to trap him. Only, while everyone is setting up, Mary slips into his basement and uses some cool tool — undoubtedly from the British Men of Letters — to break into a safe. Once inside, she steals something… but we don’t see what.

Now, it’s time for the demon to get home. The moment he walks through the front door, Dean puts multiple bullets in his chest. Nothing happens. Sam stabs him with the demon knife. Nothing happens. Then, he walks right through a demon trap. Something’s off.

Just like that, the entire mission goes horribly awry. Sam and Wally are left to fight two additional demons that show up — Wally doesn’t make it — and Castiel finds himself the target of this demon’s wrath. And when said demon somehow magically makes some sort of spear appear, you know this is bad. He stabs Castiel before Mary hits him with her car. She then gets Castiel safely to a nearby barn, but as she later tells Sam, that demon had yellow eyes.

Before Sam and Dean arrive at the barn, Mary sends a scathing text to the British Men of Letters, but they’re blaming “bad intel.” They tell her that she can’t stay there, but at this point, there’s no moving Cas.

And enter Crowley. His first, super helpful words? “You idiots. You’re all going to die.”

After Crowley meets “Mother Winchester,” he explains that the additional demons were his. Furthermore, he explains that they’re dealing with a Prince of Hell named Ramiel. What’s a Prince of Hell, you ask? They’re the oldest generation of demons, the first generation after Lilith. Lucifer turned them himself. Their role was to lead demonic armies in the war against heaven. Azazel was one of them. And yes, they all have yellow eyes. (I have to admit, “Prince of Hell” sounds way cooler than “Yellow-Eyed Demon.”)

NEXT: How Crowley became King of Hell

This brings us to a flashback: Six years ago, Crowley first met Ramiel when he was still the King of the Crossroads. After both Lilith and Azazel died and Lucifer was put in the cage, Crowley was sent by Hell to offer Ramiel the crown… along with a number of gifts. Not only did Crowley give him the weapon he used on Castiel — the Lance of Michael, if you’re wondering — but he also gave him whatever it was that Mary stole.

The one thing Crowley didn’t give Ramiel? The crown. Ramiel didn’t want it. And according to him, neither his brother nor his sister was interested either. So, as long as Crowley agreed to leave them all alone, he gave Crowley permission to rule Hell. And here we are.

Except, of course, what’s currently happening is the exact opposite of leaving Ramiel alone, hence his anger. Crowley tries to convince the Prince of Hell to leave his “allies” in the barn alone, but Ramiel’s not having it. He can smell the rotting angel, and he wants in. Oh yeah, I should probably mention that the Lance of Michael kills demons quickly — puff of smoke — and angels slowly — they rot away. Long story short, Michael wanted Lucifer to suffer when he used it on him.

Before Ramiel can get to them, Castiel begs the Winchesters to leave him. He thanks them for the best part of his life. He tells them, “The things we’ve shared together, they have changed me. You’re my family. I love you. I love all of you.” He begs them to leave so that his last moments aren’t spent watching them die. But when Castiel tells them to keep fighting, Sam informs him that they are. They’re fighting for him. And as Dean tells him, “We don’t leave family behind.”

And cue Ramiel’s entrance. The Winchesters are able to trap him with holy oil, but when Ramiel mentions that they stole from him, both Sam and Dean are more than confused. Also, fun fact: Ramiel somehow knows about Lucifer’s baby, and apparently his sister has “taken an interest.” (That can’t be good.)

So, when no one gives him back what was stolen, Ramiel pulls out the Lance of Michael and uses it to extinguish the fire. He then takes on the Winchesters, but in the end, Sam uses the Lance against him. Ramiel disappears into a puff of smoke, but his death does nothing for Castiel, who now has black ooze coming out of his mouth.

As the Winchesters sit with Cas to say goodbye, Crowley remembers what Ramiel said when he first gave him the Lance. It was about the rune work. He said the magic was in the craftsmanship. So, Crowley breaks the Lance in two, and instantly, Castiel is healed.

Just like that, they all head home (with the Lance in tow). And that brings us to Mary’s meeting with Mr. Ketch. He apologizes for the bad information before she hands over what she stole. It’s a weapon that can kill all but five things in all creation. IT’S THE COLT.

And that’s not the only return of the hour! After Crowley gets off the phone — he’s also trying to find the Colt — we see that he has someone in his cage. AND IT’S LUCIFER. Better yet? It’s hard to see, but it reallllly looks like Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer! This is going to be fun, guys!

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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