Supernatural, The CW's longest-running series and -- no biggie, but -- the longest-running genre show in the history of American broadcast television, is due to wrap up this October with its fifteenth season.
Beginning in 2005, the Eric Kripke-created series began life as the Great American Road Trip-come-paranormal investigation drama, and slowly but surely, morphed into a fantasy epic; weaving biblical lore into soap opera-style family drama.
If you've fallen behind on the show but want to tune in to see how it all ends, CBR is here to get you caught up on the major plot points from all 14 seasons of Supernatural.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
College student Sam Winchester's life is forever changed when his older brother, Dean, comes knocking on his campus door late one night, and relays this -- now iconic -- call-to-arms: "Dad's on a hunting trip, and he hasn't been home in a few days."
Reluctantly, Sam agrees to go looking for the MIA Winchester patriarch, leading him to take up the "family business" he tried to turn his back on. That business is, in Dean's own words: "Saving people, hunting things," a life propagated by the murder of their mother, Mary, by the mysterious Yellow-Eyed Demon.
The event spurred their father to become a hunter of the supernatural, train his young sons, and begin a crusade to avenge his wife's death.
The Kripke years -- Seasons 1 through 5 -- function as a self-contained arc, once intended to be the show in its entirety.
Following the death of their father -- who makes a pact with the Yellow-Eyed Demon, Azazel, to ensure Dean's survival -- Bobby Singer takes over the parental duties for the boys. We also discover Azazel's plan: using demon blood to create "special children" that could serve as Lucifer's vessel for the scheduled Apocalypse. And, Sam is one of them.
While Sam grapples with his tainted powers, the demon Lilith begins to break the 66 seals binding the Devil, and Dean winds up in Hell by the Season 3 finale to save Sam.
In Season 4, Dean is rescued from his subterranean torture by the angel, Castiel, who has since become a surrogate fourth Winchester brother. The third Winchester brother is John's secret son, Adam Milligan. With Dean refusing Heaven's plan to turn him into Archangel Michael's vessel, the angels turn to Adam as the second-best candidate.
In Season 5's climax, Adam, possessed by Michael, and Sam, possessed by Lucifer, face-off. Castiel dies in the line of duty, while Sam -- in a moment of lucidity -- pulls himself, Lucifer, Adam, and Michael, into Lucifer's Cage in Hell, putting a cork in the Apocalypse.
Season 6, the start of the post-Apocalypse era, brings an unhappily retired Dean back into the hunting fray upon discovering that Sam, miraculously, has escaped the Cage. There's just one problem, though -- he left his soul behind.
They're joined by their resurrected maternal grandfather, Samuel Campbell, and a resurrected Castiel. Castiel forms an uneasy alliance with the former crossroads demon and self-appointed King of Hell, Crowley, thus beginning a long and no less easy relationship between the demon and Team Free Will. (His mother, Rowena, an ancient and powerful witch, becomes another begrudging ally later still.)
Dean strikes a deal with the last remaining Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, to recover his brother's soul and Castiel ascends to the seat of power in Heaven.
PURGATORY & THE LEVIATHAN
Castiel's disastrous attempt to play God in Season 7 releases one of the All Mighty's oldest monsters: the Leviathan. The slippery enemy claims Bobby's life while Sam is haunted by visions of Lucifer.
Destroying the Leviathan causes the gate to Purgatory to be blown open, sucking Dean and Castiel into the hellish dimension, which they break out of in Season 8.
While attempting to close the gates of Hell for good, Sam and Dean eventually realize that God's scribe, Metatron, is angling to become the new God. Betraying Castiel's trust, the tyrant kicks every angel out of Heaven.
THE MARK OF CAIN
In Season 9, amid the chaos of angels falling to Earth, Abaddon, a Knight of Hell, seeks to become Hell's Queen, while Sam and Dean track down her mentor: Cain, who is also their distant ancestor.
Dean receives Cain's Mark but it isn't enough for him to defeat Metatron with. While the elder Winchester endures a brutal death, Metatron ends up incarcerated by Castiel and Heaven's gates are pried back open for the angels to return.
All is not lost, however, as Dean is revived in time for Season 10... as a demon.
As Sam and Castiel desperately work to restore Dean's humanity, Dean, as Crowley's newly-Knighted partner in crime, ends up killing Cain to put an end to the demon's rediscovered thirst for blood.
Castiel finally finds redemption for his past sins by recovering his lost grace, while the erasure of the Mark of Cain from Dean cures him of his monstrosity but inadvertently unleashes a primordial evil: The Darkness. Dean also breaks Death's hold over him by murdering the cosmic being with his own weapon. (Which was definitely not a stupid thing to do.) Reaper Billie is promoted to the vacated position.
GOD IS REVEALED
The banished Metatron explains that The Darkness, Season 11's primary antagonist, is none other than God's sister, Amara. Her seemingly indestructible nature forces the Winchesters to turn to Lucifer for assistance, but their foray into his Cage leads to the Devil reclaiming his throne in Hell.
Luckily, something better comes along -- Amara's brother. As long-teased, God had been hiding on Earth in the guise of "Supernatural" novel writer, Chuck Shurley. He tips them off that Amara could be defeated with "the light of 10,000 suns," powered by souls.
Amara, after mortally wounding her brother, chooses forgiveness over wrath. The two head off to reconcile, but not before Amara revives Mary Winchester as a surprise parting gift.
Mary settles herself back into the hunting life, despite interference from the British Men of Letters -- a covert organization of occult researchers trying to control American hunters. (Sam and Dean previously inherited one of their bunkers from their paternal grandfather.)
Lucifer goes in search of an alternate vessel as his old one, Nick, starts to deteriorate. He body-hops his way into the President of the United States and unintentionally sires a Nephilim child, Jack, with a human woman.
The force of Jack's birth rips a tear in the dimensional barrier, dragging Mary through to the other side. Castiel and Crowley, meanwhile, are killed (again) in an effort to stop Lucifer -- who becomes trapped with Mary.
Season 13 is split across two dimensions: the main one and "Apocalypse World," where Heaven and Hell's war has ravaged Earth, and Archangel Michael has become its human-hating ruler. Dean and Sam have to babysit Lucifer's newborn son -- accelerated into a teenager -- while trying to retrieve their mother. They also learn that Apocalypse World Michael has his eyes set on conquering their world next.
Castiel returns from The Empty, his resting place, while Archangel Gabriel, who was thought to have died by Lucifer's hand during the Apocalypse arc, turns up alive but not so well, held captive by a Knight of Hell, Asmodeus.
Once liberated, Gabriel smites Asmodeus and joins Team Free Will and Lucifer -- who hopes to connect with his son -- on a rescue mission to Apocalypse World. There, they encounter alternate universe blasts from the past, including an alternate Bobby, and transport refugees to the other side, but not before losing Gabriel to AW Michael.
Michael then gives Dean a risky opportunity to permanently put down Lucifer by allowing the Archangel to possess him. Dean agrees and Michael makes good on his offer… before making off with Dean's body.
JACK'S FALL FROM GRACE
In Season 14, AW Michael battles to keep control of his vessel as his plot to supercharge a monster army unfolds. Lucifer's old vessel, Nick, tries to bring the Devil back from the grave and becomes a bad influence on his son, Jack, who uses his incredible power to murderous effect on his AW uncle.
This act appears to irrevocably damage Jack's soul and, in an emotional outburst, he accidentally makes Mary disappear. The Winchesters and Castiel are spared the pain of having to off their newest family member when Jack's grandfather shows up and does the job for them.
Lashing out at God for making them pawns in his grand design angers the deity and, just like that, Sam and Dean are at war with the Father of Creation. His first shot across the bow is to literally let Hell loose on them, setting up what promises to be battle for the ages come Season 15.