This week's episode brought them hard, but it also brought a pretty big helping of the thinks as well. As we often do on Supernatural we had two parallel stories, this time both were about family members going behind their relative's back to do what they though needed to be done to "save" their kin, or at least return them to who they were before.
On the one hand we had Sam who enlists the help of the other person that loves Dean more than anything in the world, Cas (so good to see you back!) in order to find a cure for the mark of Cain. In this case that means freeing the only being that has any information on it from heaven's prison - Metatron. Sam of course doesn't tell Dean this, just as Rowena doesn't tell her son she's going off to try to kill Dean. I'm not sure if Rowena genuinely wants to help Crowley by removing the positive influence of Dean from his life, or just get back the magic that the Men of Letters stole.
What Sam and Cas have that Rowena lacks is of course an inside man. While Rowena uses spells and manipulation to get what she wants, the boys call on an old friend to help them out. It was so wonderful to see Jim Beaver back on screen as Bobby Singer, comfortable in heaven reading Tori Spelling and kicking back. It was even more moving to see him back in the game and worried about his boys. I loved that he and Cas agreed that giving up on Dean was never a thing they could do.
But in the end everyone still sort of fails, because they had bad information. That is, they relied on the wrong story, another theme we've seen a lot in this season and the last. Rowena didn't know the Mark made Dean invulnerable and Cas and Sam didn't know Meatron wsa lying about knowing how to save Dean. He does know where to find Cas' grace though, which should be interesting. In order to set things right, they're going to have to go off book.
While their family was plotting, Dean and Crowley also met up, as exes do when one's mother tries to kill the other then fakes being beaten half to death. Instead of fighting the guys just...talk. And they talk about the ideas that define Supernatural - what family is about. Dean reminds Crowley that family don't end in blood, but blood doesn't make someone real family - at least not the kind that really has your back. This is enough to motivate Crowley to kick Rowena out o her manipulative behind. I'm sure she'll be back though.
All in all this episode has so many great moments: an atheist meeting an angel, Hannah returning in a male vessel still besotted with Cas (and aren't we all in love with Cas?), beautiful effects and surly Bobbies taking over heaven. The crowning moment had to be Bobby's final letter to Sam, warning him about going behind Dean's back and where that road of good intentions can lead. Of course, Bobby trusts Sam to do what's good and to, in the words of late Supernatural producer Kim Manners, kick it in the ass.