Misha Collins as Castiel in "Supernatural" season 12 episode 12 "Stuck in the Middle (With You)"
Misha Collins as Castiel in "Supernatural" season 12 episode 12 "Stuck in the Middle (With You)" The CW

“Supernatural” season 12 episode 12 has a couple of familiar faces – and eyes – returning. “Stuck in the Middle (With You)” has Castiel (Misha Collins) in the brink of death, with Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Mary (Samantha Smith) squaring off with a yellow-eyed demon.

‘Supernatural’ season 12 episode 12 spoiler alert: Recap and review of ‘Stuck in the Middle (With You)’ are detailed below.

Directed by Richard Speight Jr, who also played Trickster/archangel Gabriel in the show, “Supernatural” 12x12 has Cas almost dying in the end. Thanks to Crowley (Mark Sheppard), though, the Winchesters and their angel were able to live another day.

Mary, who has joined the British Men of Letters’ crusade against supernatural beings, has enlisted another hunter named Wally (guest star Donovan Stinson) to take down a demon. She needed Wally’s help so her sons would think it was Wally who needed assistance and therefore they would not have to ask her questions anymore.

And so Mary, Wally, Sam and Dean, and Castiel planned their attack flawlessly at a dinner, where Dean tried to flirt with a waitress but was rebuffed for “devastatingly handsome” Cas. (See video below.) No matter how tightly they tried to execute their plan, they still did not have the advantage of surprise.

As it turned out, the demon they were hunting wasn’t just any low-level demon, but a Prince of Hell. They were no match for hell’s royalty. Wally was killed in the battle when two more demons appeared, while Castiel was critically hurt by Ramiel (Jerry Trimble) after the demon impaled him with a spear-like weapon.

Ramiel was one of the four Princes of Hell along with yellow-eyed demon Azazel, who infamously killed Mama Winchester. Ramiel was the last of the princes, and he would have been King of Hell had he only wanted the title.

How Crowley became the King of Hell

Ever wonder how Crowley was promoted from King of Crossroads to King of Hell? It wasn’t addressed before in the show; Crowley just showed up as the King of Hell all of a sudden. This episode answered how.

Six years ago, Crowley turned up at Ramiel’s house bearing gifts – archangel Michael’s lance, which Ramiel used to injure Castiel with, and a hidden object, which Mary stole – to ask him to lead hell. Ramiel refused, instead offering the title to Crowley, who accepted, in exchange for being left alone. And that’s how Crowley became hell royalty.

Castiel loves Dean… and Sam and Mary

Crowley, whom Ramiel kept in charge of his solitude, appeared following the fight to lecture the Winchesters for being “idiots” and going after Ramiel. The Winchesters, of course, didn’t know who they had just attacked and was quite surprised that they had come for hell’s prince who just wanted to be left alone. Crowley told them that Cas was as good as dead and there was nothing they could do.

A distraught Dean came up to Crowley, demanding that the demon either help them or just get out. Crowley disappeared, leading them to believe he had abandoned them.

“Thank you. Knowing you has been the best part of my life, and the things we’ve shared together have changed me. You’re my family. I love you. I love all of you,” Castiel told the Winchester trio as he lay dying. “Just please don’t let my last moments watching you die. Just run. Save yourselves. And I will hold Ramiel as long as I can.” Props to the director for jumping the camera shot on Dean’s face right after Castiel said “I love you.”

Sam and Dean weren’t having any of Cas’ self-sacrificing drama, though. They refused to leave, with Sam insisting they were fighting for their best friend angel, and Dean saying they wouldn’t leave “family” behind.

And so the Winchesters stayed to fight for Cas. They once again prepared for battle as best as they could.

Mary’s choice

When Ramiel arrived in the barn where the Winchesters were hiding, he demanded that they return an item they stole from him. Sam, Dean and Castiel were perplexed, but Mary knew exactly what he was talking about. Earlier in Ramiel’s house, she stole something from a safe.

Instead of coming forward and returning the item, and therefore preventing bloodshed, Mary chose to keep quiet. And so bloodshed ensued.

Although Ramiel was too strong and powerful for them, he wasn’t invincible. Sam was able to get hold of the lance and fatally stab Ramiel with it. As Crowley said, the lance could kill everything it touches. For angels, they would rot away; but for demons, they would go in a puff of smoke.

And so Ramiel went in a puff of smoke. But there was still the nasty business of Castiel rotting away.

Crowley, the hero

Crowley, probably the smartest character in the show, has transitioned from a likeable villain to a lovable anti-hero since his first appearance in season 5. He has helped the Winchesters on more occasions than the brothers’ own allies have done. And yet Sam and Dean still considered him an annoyance. But once again, Crowley managed to save the day for them.

When he disappeared after being told off by Dean, he actually did not abandon them. He went to Ramiel to ask him to spare his human allies, enticing the Prince of Hell to enter in another deal with him. Ramiel refused, hurling Crowley into the barn instead.

Crowley might not have convinced Ramiel, but he was able to save Castiel. After Sam killed Ramiel, the brothers desperately scrambled to Cas’ side, helpless and unable to do anything to save him. But Crowley remembered Ramiel saying something about the lance’s magic being in its craftsmanship. The reigning King of Hell – again being the smartest guy in the show – figured out that breaking the lance would break its magic. And so he broke the lance and saved Castiel’s life just in time.

The return of the Colt

The item that Mary stole from Ramiel’s safe turned out to be the legendary Colt, the revolver that could kill supernatural creatures normally immune to other weapons. It was heavily featured in the earlier seasons and was used to kill the demon Azazel.

When the newly healed Castiel asked what stolen item Ramiel was talking about, Mary was about to confess when Dean shrugged it off as a nonsense rambling. Mary later on met with Mr Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) to hand over the Colt to the BMoL. But before she surrendered the revolver, she threatened him and the whole BMoL for lying to her about her mission. The normally unruffled Mr Ketch then apologised for putting them in danger.

Lucifer’s back

Crowley was not without secrets of his own. While the boys are still looking for Kelly Kline and her unborn baby, whom Lucifer fathered, Crowley has been keeping the devil himself in hell. Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) was revealed to be imprisoned, taunting Crowley for again helping the hunters, who would kill him in the future.

‘Supernatural’ 12x12 review

It wasn’t the Castiel-centric episode that many were led to believe, but it wasn’t also disappointing. It was great to see the four main stars – Padalecki, Ackles, Collins and Sheppard – sharing screen time once again, with their characters working together. There couldn’t be a more perfect quartet on television today.

Mary’s return to the series was met with mixed response, and her limited screen time hasn’t exactly endeared her to the still-unconvinced fans. Her role in Castiel’s near-death this episode would perhaps even estrange her further from fans. However, Mary has displayed a few maternal qualities as well. Her using her mum voice in the diner was just what the boys needed to hear.

It was also an ironically sweet moment when she threatened Mr Ketch and called Cas “one of her boys.” In just a short time, she has considered the angel as a son. “Supernatural”needs to show how truly badass Mary is because so far, that hasn’t happened yet.

“Supernatural” airs two weeks behind in Australia on Eleven on Mondays. It airs on The CW in the US on Thursdays.

Watch ‘Supernatural’ 12x12 diner scene

Read more:
‘Supernatural’ season 12 episode 11 spoilers/recap: ‘Regarding Dean’ is ‘Yellow Fever’ but heartbreaking [VIDEO]
‘Supernatural’ season 12 episode 10 recap/spoilers: Castiel’s weakness is ‘humanity’ in ‘Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets’