Fresh off Dean beating his face in, Sam comes back to the land of the living only to find himself tied to a chair and about to get a Heavenly check-up from Castiel. Apparently, he also didn't think it was too important to mention that he hasn't slept since he got back from Hell; Sam is too cool to be catching some Z's.
Dean wants to know what's up with his brother, and Cas apparently thinks that means he should rip off his belt and shove it in Sam's mouth; Oh right- the only way to find out what's wrong is for Castiel to reach inside Sam. After his inspection, Castiel breaks the bad news to the Winchesters: poor old Sammy forgot his soul down in Hell.
Dean feels that the only way to ensure that Sam doesn't go do anything stupid is to keep him tied to the chair, but Sam has plans of his own. He gives Dean the chance to untie him, but his brother refuses; oh well, it's a good thing Sam can manage to break out of any knot known to man, apparently, because within seconds he's free.
Dean finally relents to having Sam around, but he's going to be watching his every move. Sam can live with that, because even he knows that he needs someone making sure he doesn't do something terrible.
Now that they've checked out Sam (and Cas has fixed up his busted face), they move on to check out Samuel; if they really were resurrected at the same time, they might be able to find a few clues on Samuel that they couldn't on Sam. After Samuel also experiences Castiel's Mighty Fist of Heaven, the group is no further than they were to start with. Samuel still has his soul; apparently whatever brought them back only bothered to keep Sam's locked up.
Samuel says that he didn't know about Sam's missing soul, but he does admit to knowing that there was something…different about Sam. Maybe the utter sociopath-iness he's got going on?
Rather than hang out and deal with the Winchester family drama, Castiel takes off to deal with his own familial mess up in Heaven- but not before Dean demands that he do everything he can to help Sam. "Of course. Your problems always come first." Oooh, snarky, Cas!
Meanwhile, Camp Campbell is crawling with hunters, all prepping for something big; they've finally managed to find the Alpha Vamp, and they're ready to take him down. Sam doesn't get why he wasn't called to help out, but Dean knows it's because of him. Samuel may like Sam, but he sure doesn't trust Dean.
Dean manages to snag them both an invite by telling Samuel how much he trusts him (much to my eternal disappointment), but once outside, Dean tells Sam just how untrusting he is-not only of Samuel, but of the whole operation they've got running here. With Sam distracting Christian, Dean sneaks into the back of Camp Campbell and attempts to break into Samuel's office. He would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that meddlesome Christian, who apparently gave Sam the slip and came to check on Dean. The two exchange insults, but when Christian goes too far and insults Lisa, Dean has him against a wall. Christian is apparently not the brightest bulb, because he keeps on going. "You sure you want to come with us tomorrow? Accidents happen." Dean is a classy fellow though, and he simply straightens out Christian's collar, promising that he's "got your back."
Soon, a caravan of hunters peel out of Camp Campbell, ready to hunt down the Alpha. Samuel splits the group up, but leaves Dean and Gwen behind to catch any strays that make it that far. Gwen's upset about being left "in the rear with the reject", but she gets to share a nice bonding moment with Dean before he takes off running towards to house, following gunshots.
Dean makes it to the house in time to see Samuel and Sam loading the Alpha in the back of a van. I have a feeling this might put an even bigger crimp in Sam and Dean's super-special relationship.
Dean makes it back to Gwen seconds before the rest of the hunters make it back to them, and for whatever reason, Gwen doesn't spill about Dean taking off. Point for her, I guess.
Back in the car, Sam lies about what went down during the hunt. Dean is pretty fed up with his brother and his stupid lying, and after pulling over, Sam admits that he told Samuel not to let Dean in on what they were doing. They need the Alpha for questioning, and Dean is more of the "shoot first, ask questions later" type of guy.
Apparently pyscho-Sam didn't even realize that what they were doing might be a little "shady", and Dean decides that from that point on, they're either going to do things his way, or Sam could take a walk.
The next we see Sam, he's back at Camp Campbell, telling Samuel that he's split with Dean and wants in on the questioning. As happy as he is to see Sam, ol' Gramps isn't letting him do squat until he's freshly souled. Sam isn't having any of that, so he enables the GPS on Samuel's phone and heads back to where Dean is waiting in the Impala (come on, like anyone would choose the crazies in Camp Campbell over Dean?). Dean seems happily surprised that Sam came back; apparently, he didn't have high hopes about who Sam would choose. In the car, Sam lets Dean in on his 'plan B', and they decide to follow Samuel using the GPS. Dean worries that Samuel will notice that the GPS has been enabled, but Sam assures him that he'll never notice; "he thinks Velcro is big news" (and from that moment on, the mental image of Grandpa Samuel hunting in his little Velcro shoes, which he thinks are 'just the coolest', forever endears him to me).
The boys follow Samuel's phone to wherever it is they're holding the Alpha Vamp, who with the dead man's blood running through him and the nails through his hands and feet, can't be having to great of a time, though you would never know it from looking at him. Apparently, Samuel isn't getting the answers that he wants, so he decides to up the torture just a bit and add some electrocution to the mix. Alpha isn't in the least bit bothered, in fact, he looks almost bored. Samuel leaves in a huff, needing to find some new torture tools, and once he's gone, Alpha calls Sam and Dean into the room. Apparently, they aren't as subtle as they thought. Alpha is all kinds of chatty with them, which could have something to do with the fact that his elongated nails are scratching away at his restraints (unnoticed by anyone, of course).
Apparently, the thing that Samuel (and whoever he works for) has been after this whole time is the location of Purgatory. That's right- when little monsters die, they go to Purgatory.
Sam and Dean don't get to ask many more questions, because when they were busy yapping, Samuel, Christian, and random other hunter snuck up behind them, armed to the teeth.
Sam and Dean are taken out to the hall and stripped of all their weapons. Dean takes the time to let Samuel know what a complete tool he is, in case he didn't realize it before. After tearing Samuel down, Dean manages to get his gun away from him, and is reaching for his own when Gwen takes aim at him. Yeeeah, so much for that plan.
Things aren't going to well for Sam and Dean, it turns out that things are going even worse for the poor sap they left in charge of watching the Alpha Vamp. He's finally managed to get free of his restraints, and before the poor kid has time to escape, the Alpha is on him. The Campbells hear screams coming from the torture room, and after telling Sam and Dean to grab their weapons, they head into the now-empty room.
The Alpha is missing, they've only got two syringes of dead man's blood left, and less than an hour before the Alpha is back to running at full health. Obviously, this is the time for Dean Winchester to take over. "Okay- we split up, clear every room. You get a shot, you take it; it's not gonna kill him, but dude'll move a lot slower without any kneecaps. And if we make it through this, you, me, and Sam are having one hell of a family meeting." Aww, I've missed bossy-Dean!
Everyone takes off in their groups, and when Christian's guard is down, Alpha sneaks up behind hims and breaks his neck. Samuel hits the wall, and Sam finds himself disarmed and about to be turned. "The boy with no soul…I've got big plans for you. It's amazing how many pesky times a soul gets in the way. But not for you- you will be the perfect animal."
Too bad Alpha doesn't get a chance to follow through- newley dead- and apparently demon-Christian sticks him full of dead man's blood! Within seconds, more demons show up out of nowhere, before disappearing into thin air with the Alpha. Dean and Gwen show up just in time to see them go, and they are all unsure about what just happened until Crowley shows up out of nowhere! "Well, that was dramatic." It sure was Crowley (and gah, I've missed him!).
Samuel's more than a little upset about his nephew being chock-full of demon, but he's apparently been that way for ages now. Sam finally starts piecing things together; "you're Crowley's bitch" he surmises about Samuel; turns out, Crowley is interested in taking over Purgatory- now that he's the King of Hell, he's looking to expand his kingdom a little bit. Grandpa Samuel made a deal, and because of that, Sam and Dean are now working for Crowley- that is, they're working for him if they ever want to see Sam's soul again.
"I snap my fingers, Sam gets his soul back. Or you can be- you, and I shove Sam right back in the hole. I can't imagine what it's like in there- and I can imagine so many things. So- we clear? Me Charlie, you Angels."
And with that, Crowley is gone- leaving the Winchesters and Campbells to deal with the mess that they're in. Gwen is reluctant to continue following Samuel's orders, but she eventually gives in. Dean though, he wants to know what Crowley promised Samuel to get him to betray his entire family like this. "What'd he offer you, huh? Girls, money- hair?" But Samuel isn't giving up answers that easily. "I've got my reasons. You gonna make a move, go ahead, I'm not gonna do anything to you Dean. You boys- you're my family. So the way I see it, you've got two choices: put a bullet in your grandfather, or step aside." Sam- being the soulless psycho that he is- immediately pulls his gun. Dean gives him the 'Sam, cool it!' glance, but Sam can't get over the fact that Samuel sold them out. Dean tells him to let it go, and Samuel is free to leave.
Dean doesn't know how they're going to work for Crowley- it goes against everything they've been doing their whole lives. Sam understands where he's coming from, but given their options, there's not a whole lot of other ways they can go about getting Sam's soul back, so for now they play ball. Later though, "we track Crowley down, and give that son of a bitch what's coming to him. You with me, Dean?" Oh yes, Sam- we're with you all the way.
Wow, there are so many twists and turns going on in this episode, I don't even know where to start! I absolutely love that Sam's problem is that his soul is missing. I was really worried that it was going to be a cop-out 'he's possessed' type scenario, but the fact that he's essentially a sociopath with a very murky idea of what's right and wrong really brings something interesting to the table.
It does, however, raise a few questions about Dean's soul for me. Last season, Famine had mentioned that Dean was soulless, which was the reason he wasn't starving for anything like everyone else was. I think it's pretty obvious- going off of how Sam's been behaving this season- that Dean's soul must be intact, but I would really like to see some kind of reference to that, as it's going to bother me until the end.
I'm not sure if I appreciate the show trying to fit Gwen into Mary's shoes, because let's be honest- the girls isn't nearly cool enough for that. I would really enjoy seeing her become an interesting and vital character as the season goes on though- that is of course, assuming they don't kill her immediately.
We don't know what made Samuel make a deal, but for some reason, I'm leaning towards Mary. It's the only thing I can think of that makes sense- Samuel would of course make a deal to bring his daughter- who was killed far too young- back to life, but since she can't be found anywhere in Heaven (and presumably inns' in Hell), I'm thinking she's also stuck in Purgatory. Yes, Crowley wants to find it for his own reasons, but I can't think of anything that would inspire Grandpa Samuel to work this hard to find it other than the promise that his daughter just might be trapped there.
I didn't see the twist with Christian and the other hunters coming at all- it makes total sense once we found out what was going on, but in the moment, it was a huge twist, and the writers did an awesome job keeping us from expecting it.
Another thing that we didn't expect was the surprise- Crowley! I don't remember seeing his name in the opening credits, and it really went a long way towards making the revelation even more exciting. I love that Crowley-even now- is not the Big Bad we're used to having. He's not explicitly evil, he's just very…gray. He's anintriguing character with his own game-plan, and the fact that the Winchesters are now caught up in it is going to make for a very interesting season.