Misha Collins as Castiel in "Supernatural" season 12 episode 9 "First Blood"
Misha Collins as Castiel in "Supernatural" season 12 episode 9 "First Blood" YouTube/The CW Television Network

“Supernatural” season 12 has returned after a month of hiatus. Episode 9 “First Blood” sees Castiel (Misha Collins) and Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) teaming up to rescue Sam and Dean (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) from prison. The British Men of Letters have also made an appearance, and another character meets her demise this episode.

‘Supernatural’ season 12 episode 9 ‘First Blood’ spoilers ahead

In episode 8’s “LOTUS,” Sam and Dean were arrested after apparently attempting to assassinate the US president, whose body was actually occupied by Lucifer at that time. Episode 9 picks up immediately, with the Winchester brothers imprisoned in a place that’s “not supposed to exist” while Cas pined away for them in the bunker. With all his angelic powers, he couldn’t even make contact with them.

Castiel was broken. He didn’t know where the boys were and he’s getting frustrated. He kept blaming himself for “losing” them, as Mary has succinctly put it. Crowley wouldn’t help him find them, while Mary was just as helpless as the angel was. Mary, meanwhile, has taken over her sons’ hunting duties for them.

Meanwhile, Sam and Dean, who were spending weeks in isolation in prison, both died suddenly on the same day. Knowing the Winchesters, death isn’t permanent for them. They made a deal with reaper Billie (Lisa Berry) to temporarily kill them so they can plan break free. With a stolen phone, Dean called Cas, who was so relieved to finally hear from him that his voice broke.

Mary and Cas knew that they couldn’t rescue the boys by themselves, and so the fallen angel called the British Men of Letter for help. Mick Davies (Adam Fergus) and Mr Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) were only too happy to help.

Unbeatable Winchesters against ordinary men

What’s been missing in the past few seasons of the show was Sam and Dean’s appreciation of themselves. They have sacrificed a lot, including their own lives, to make everyone safe. And they still blamed themselves somehow for failing. This episode brought back their self-worth. They were isolated from the world and each other, without anyone to talk to. That alone would make anyone else go insane. The boys, however, they were made of stronger stuff. They were not only able to escape the facility, they also defeated without killing the men running after them.

“We’re the guys who saved the world.” The boys finally recognised their value.

It’s also great to see how Sam and Dean fared against ordinary – albeit highly skilled – humans. They can take on any supernatural beings on earth, but when against mere humans, they were practically indomitable.

A Winchesters family reunion and a reaper’s death

With the help of the British Men and Letters, Mary and Cas were able to locate the boys’ exact location through thermal imaging satellite. Mary, though shedding a few happy tears, calmly hugged her sons, while Cas was visibly shaken with relief upon seeing his human charges.

As they were driving away, Mary’s car suddenly acted up, although Sam and Dean weren’t surprised. It turned out they knew Billie was coming for them. Dean struck a deal with her again. They got to die and be brought back to life again, but come midnight, a Winchester would die permanently.

“We were already dead. We were locked in that cell with nothing. I’ve been to hell; this is worse,” Dean explained. “At least like this way, one of us would keep fighting,” Sam added.

As they forged the pact with blood, Sam and Dean couldn’t break their deal without facing dire consequences. True to their characters, Sam and Dean were both thinking that it would be them who would die, both hoping to spare the other.

Mary volunteered to die, though, and Billie agreed. And just before the Winchester mama was about to pull the trigger at her head, Cas stabbed Billie, instantly killing the reaper who had helped them save the world at one time.

“You know this world, this sad, doomed little world, it needs you. It needs every last Winchester it can get. And I won’t let you die. I won’t let any of you die. And I won’t let you sacrifice yourselves. You mean too much to me, to everything,” a very emotional Cas told the Winchesters. “Yeah you made a deal. You made a stupid deal and I broke it. You’re welcome.”

Cas killing a reaper, especially after Billie had just made a blood pact with the Winchesters, would surely have some terrible outcome in the near future. Sam and Dean killed Death in season 10 and that hasn’t resulted in any troubling consequence yet, true, but somehow this time it felt different.

With a Castiel-centric episode coming, it’s alarming that this could somehow play in the storyline. Cas, the beleaguered angel who seemed even more worried for Sam and Dean than their own mother was, could be the one to suffer the consequence of killing a reaper.

The British Men of Letters way

Sam and Dean left the men running after them alive though a bit beaten. That wasn’t enough for Mick and Mr Ketch, who killed every single one of the people who knew about the Winchesters’ case and imprisonment.

Earlier in the episode, Mick was trying to recruit American hunters into playing a part in the BMoL agenda, which was to make the world a supernatural-free place. The hunters weren’t easy to persuade, though. In the end, Mick was able to have one hunter listen to their plans. That hunter turned out to be Mary Winchester, who has been trying to escape the hunting life from the start.

“Supernatural” airs Monday on Eleven in Australia. The show airs Thursday in the US on The CW.