The mid season premiere of Supernatural opened on a Christmas scene where a very excited Crowley, acting very much like a child, excitedly opens a Funko Pop Vinyl Sam Winchester figure while his mother, a less than enthused Rowena in a blinking Rudolph nose and antlers, watched on. Suddenly a loud knocking sound came at the door as “Santa Claus” burst in. Crowley enthusiastically asked what Santa brought for him only to be stabbed in the chest with an oversized candy cane. At this point we learned that this was a nightmare Rowena was having and that “Santa” was really Lucifer, and he was there to enlist Rowena (more on that later).
So began another fine, if very full, episode. It's hard to talk too much about what happened, if only because so much happened. When last we left Sam, he was in the cage with Lucifer after having been trapped there by Rowena, much to his horror and to Crowley's chagrin. The angels had just smited Amara (The Darkness) and Dean was on the way to find out if she was dead. And this is where we found them in this episode. I counted no less than four subplots in this episode, but I will try to sum up the major ones.
First we had Sam and Lucifer in the cage in Hell. Sam was there because he initially believed that God had been speaking to him, and that God wanted him to visit Lucifer in Hell because that was the way to stop the darkness. Come to find out, it had just been Lucifer messing with Sam all along, and most of their part in this episode was Lucifer trying to convince Sam that he had lost his edge, that he was unwilling to make major sacrifices to actually save the world. Sam, Lucifer argued, was more interested in saving Dean, or in saving his own life to spare Dean losing him, than in saving the human race and that Sam needed his help, and most likely to die, in order to defeat Amara.
Whilst that was going on, Dean heads out to where the angels had supposedly killed Amara to locate her body for himself to make sure she was really dead. However, he was struck by “smiting sickness” rendering him unable to get any close to the area where she was supposedly killed and he had to send Castiel in for him. In the meantime, he received a phone call from Crowley informing him that Sam was in Hell and to get there right away. Obviously he gets to the door to Hell right away and is met by Billie, a reaper who gives him a mysterious box to take to Crowley.
In our other major plot point of the evening, Castiel meets up with another angel in his search for Amara's body, but this angel soon meets her demise as Amara is, of course, alive and well. Castiel is spared, however, as Amara says she needs him to deliver a message and she teleports him away.
Dean then meets with Crowley and gives him the box from Billie, which turns out to be something which Crowley can use to control his mother and get Sam out of the box. Castiel then shows up with Amara's message “I am coming” burned into his chest. At the same moment, Sam and Lucifer begin to fight as Sam has refused his offer to fight The Darkness. But once Dean and Castiel enter to help Sam, they are trapped with Lucifer as well. This leads to something very bad happening. But it also lead to one of my favorite things in the episode, as well.
Overall a very strong episode, but not one of the best, either. B+