*SPOILER ALERT!! Read no further!!*
The angels and demons are given the night off in last night’s episode. The focus is back on Kevin Tran who is still in hiding as he tries to deduce the writing on the tablet. Over the course of several days he soon figures out the message. Dean sets up a room in the storehouse trying to make things like home. Sam looks it over. They are trying to make the old storehouse homier. They receive a call from Kevin and go to meet him. On the boat, they find him. Kevin tells them that he has figured out how to close the hell gates for good. But first they have to complete three tests first. First, kill a hellhound and bathe in its blood. Sam tells Kevin to take it easy for a bit but Kevin refuses, saying not until the gates are closed. However, before they can cleanse themselves in hellhound blood, there the matter of finding one. Luckily, Sam finds a story about the Cassidy family who struck it rich ten years ago on oil.
They arrive at the Cassidy’s farm where they masquerade as ranch hands for hire. There, they meet Ellie who works on the farm. Ellie introduces them to Alice and Carl. Later that night, Alice and her husband are having dinner when they hear howling in the distance. While Alice investigates, her husband Carl is attacked by a hellhound. The Winchesters see this as a missed opportunity to kill the hellhound. While Dean sets to leave, Sam talks to Alice. He finds and informs Dean, who wishes to summon a crossroads demon, that Carl sold his soul for Alice, not for oil.The next day, the Cassidy family arrives at the farm following Carl’s death. They do not get along at all. Amidst their squabbling, they soon mention Crowley’s name. Sam informs Dean that Crowley came through the farm ten years ago and struck a deal with one of the Cassidy family members. While they are discussing this, Kevin calls and reveals to them on how to see the hellhound. While Dean goes to create a way to make a hellhound visible, Sam accompanies Margie and the old man on their hunt for the wolf that killed Carl. The trio gets separated until Sam and the elder Cassidy hear Margie scream. They rush back to her to find her being attacked by a hellhound.
The elder Cassidy asks what the creature was. Dean tells them about Crowley and the hellhound; then, they provide protection Crowley’s pet. The family doesn’t believe them but this soon changes as their angst towards each other mounts. While the family argues, Dean opts to the hound himself but Sam disagrees. Dean tells him his fate is to die a hunter and that Sam should get out the first chance he gets. With the conversation ended, Dean searches for the hellhound which leads him to Ellie’s room where she tells him that she is the one who made the deal. Ellie tells Dean about her deal with Crowley—it was to save her mother. Ellie was never told about the conditions by Crowley. Soon they hear a hellhound. Dean provides protection and then goes off to hunt the demon dog. He finds it just outside the barn only to be sideswiped by the hound and loses the glasses he burned in holy fire enabling him to see the hound. Sam arrives just in time to save his brother. He splits the hound down its body, spilling its blood on his body.
Ellie wonders what to do next. Dean makes a hex bag for her so Crowley can’t find her as she has to now hide herself. Dean tries the spell only to discover that it won’t work since he didn’t pass the trial. Sam convinces Dean that he doesn’t have to close the hell gates alone. Dean soon relents and Sam conducts the spell. His arm glows with malevolent light that soon fades. He reassures dean that he is able to do the trials. Dean looks on in worry.The series makes the return to helping troubled people, moving away the stale-running “Crowley” business. Also, there was plenty of wisecracking from Dean who was definitely in rare form. His best line was from when he and Sam are told the first trial to which he responds, “So all I gotta do is split Snoopy open and let Calgon take me away.” The hellhounds have been ever present in various episodes of Supernatural but they were depicted only as invisible devil dogs with unearthly howls. It was real treat to finally put an image behind the ghostly snarling. Well, one trial down, two more to go. Somehow, I do not see the other trials going as easily.
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