Supernatural kicked off its final season last week with a thrilling premiere that saw unforgettable villains like the ghost of John Wayne Gacy and the Woman in White return. This week's episode, titled “Raising Hell,” flipped the script and enlisted a few helping hands for Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) instead, including Rowena (Ruth Connell) and beloved prophet Kevin Tran (Osric Chau).
A barrier around a town overrun with demonic souls that escaped from hell has been keeping the bad guys in check, but it's only a temporary fix, and those ghosts won't stay trapped for long. Many are plotting to escape, like Jack the Ripper, who has amassed a group of followers thanks to his clever plan to break free. Recognizing that they don't have much time before the restless souls get out, Sam and Dean enlisted Rowena to create a bomb similar to what they tried to use on Amara (Emily Swallow), one that would trap the souls in a crystal.
It's a tall order, but Rowena got some help from Arthur Ketch (David Haydn-Jones), who showed up out of nowhere armed with a neat gun he stole from the Men of Letters that dispels ghosts without harming the human. Well, I use the term “help” loosely — they were mostly flirting. But Rowena eventually got the job done and they were able to stop the ghosts from escaping. Say what you will about her taste in men, but Rowena is a boss. Facts are facts.
This week's episode also dropped several big reveals, like where Chuck (Rob Benedict) — who apparently loved Game of Thrones‘ ending — has been hiding out all this time. It turns out he's still on Earth, having been weakened after Sam shot him with the God gun. He was more than just injured though, as the gun seems to have connected Chuck to Sam in the way Harry Potter and Voldemort were linked. When Chuck touches his wound, Sam feels it, and vice versa. Chuck tried to convince Amara, who's been living her best yoga life in a lush suite, to help him escape Earth, but she shut him down and left him in the dust instead. Who can blame her after he locked her away for several millennia?
We also found out what happened to Kevin, who was supposed to be resting peacefully in heaven. In light of recent events, it's not surprising that Chuck lied and actually sent the former prophet to hell. Kevin's transfer to the underworld gave him a tough guy reputation amongst the other demons, which allowed him to help Dean and Ketch by scaring off Lizzie Borden with just the sound of his voice. However, Kevin's return was bittersweet. Though it was nice to see him team up with the Winchesters one last time, the episode wrapped his story on a sour note, with him choosing to wander Earth as a restless spirit and eventually go mad rather than return to hell — his previous stay in the hellish world bars him from entering heaven. It's a disappointing ending for a character who deserved far better than the awful hand he's been dealt. With 18 episodes left in the season, we're hoping that that Winchesters can eventually find a way to save his soul before it all comes to an end.
Although Dean and Sam weren't the focus of this week's episode, which was more concerned with giving the spotlight to peripheral characters like the endlessly entertaining Belphagor (Alexander Calvert), lovely Rowena, and dashing Ketch (who was shot with iron bullets and lived), it still managed to deliver a pivotal moment between Castiel (Misha Collins) and Dean, who were at odds after Cas lied to Dean about Jack. When Cas tried to talk to Dean about what went down between then, Dean immediately unleashed the anger he's been bottling up. He was not just mad at Cas but at everything. Chuck's reveal that he orchestrated every aspect of their lives has rocked him to his core, and he's going through a crisis of faith. Cas, on the other hand, was more optimistic and believed that what they do actually has a purpose. If only Dean felt that way. Their argument didn't settle anything, but it was a raw moment that allowed both Dean and Cas to let out some of what they were holding in.
Emotional catharsis aside, Team Free Will still has their work cut out for them. At the end of the hour, the gang realized that even more souls have escaped from hell and Belphagor's barrier is running out of juice. Yikes.
“Hello, lads.” – Arthur Ketch
“I guess Jack got under God's skin and now I'm under Jack's.” – Belphagor
“You asked what about all of this is real. We are.” – Cas trying to talk some sense into Dean
“Turns out, God's a dick.” – Dean
“Even on your best day you couldn't force my hand.” — Amara
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)