A plot within a plot within a plot. A mole within a mole.
After his team-up and inevitable betrayal by Lucifer, Castiel has managed to survive and make it back to the bunker. It's there that he tells the Winchesters everything that has been happening and why he took the devil up on his offer and that he knows their mother is alive. Back at the asylum, Azmodeus has a job for Ketch – to hunt down and kill Lucifer. If he somehow managed to get his power back, that will be the end for everyone. Meanwhile, Lucifer's power levels are not looking so hot. With his diminished strength, he's begun to feel hunger and has even resorted to begging for money. It's during this time that a homeless man tells him about Sister Jo, a healer that can cure people of any ailment as long as they have money. Lucifer doesn't buy it but when the man tells him about her glowing hands, Lucifer knows he has found another angel with grace to drain. With the information that their mother is alive, the Winchesters call the prophet Donatello in to decipher the demon tablet as it may contain something that will help them to open a breach into the alternate world and save their mother. Now that they have Donatello hard at work, it doesn't take Castiel, Dean and Sam very long to track Lucifer down but hopefully they can get there in time before he regains his power.
With as many twist and turns as a spy thriller, The Devil's Bargain saw nearly every character pulled into the story in some creative way that will likely keep fans guessing until the end of the season. The Devil's Bargain was off to a weak, if not uninspired intro with the introduction of Cupid. Bringing a character onto the show with a backstory shouldn't be just to kill them immediately without any significance and removed the possibility of any future stories with them in the future. It may have been done for shock value but any angel with any random name would have served the same purpose. After that, Castiel finally reunited with Sam and Dean. If anything can be said about this season it's that Supernatural has almost forgotten how to use some characters effectively after their return. It was a huge deal that Castiel was brought back from the void but his presence this season has been particularly minor. It was after his return and confession to the Winchesters that Lucifer took centre stage in The Devil's Bargain. While this plot is interesting, I'm beginning to wonder if Lucifer is becoming overused at this point in the series. Sure, Mark Pellegrino is great in the role but he's been the villain so many times that the latest story doesn't feel that fresh now that he has most of his power back and is being set up to the become the villain of the season yet again. What The Devil's Bargain did so effectively is make us question who is playing who. Can Ketch be trusted this time? What information will Donatello give to Azmodeus? Can Lucifer have the loyalty of the angels and fulfill his end of the bargain to create more and give them their wings back? I'm glad this wasn't a monster of the week episode but it's a lot of questions for Supernatural to be juggling now that season thirteen is passed the halfway point.
I normally have quite a bit more to say about an episode but considering everything that happened in The Devil's Bargain, characters largely maintained the status quo. Castiel admitted to Sam and Dean that he was trying to do something good but still did something bad, Azmodeus is still evil and Lucifer is still the ultimate bad guy. As far as character development goes, this episode barely had any of it. Though entertaining, The Devil's Bargain feels more like a lead up to better things to come rather than being a good episode in its own right. If pushed, I can easily see how this story could have been broken up and shifted into episodes that felt more connected to each plot and created a more cohesive story.
All in all, The Devil's Bargain is an average episode of Supernatural that sets up the great things to come but did little to get us excited about what it had. We'll see what happens when Supernatural returns on March 1st when Jack and Mary make their return in Good Intentions.