Supernatural: The Return of a Major Villain Devastates Sam & Dean

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 15, Episode 5 of Supernatural, "Proverbs, 17:3."

For the most part, "Proverbs, 17:3" feels like an average episode of Supernatural: Sam and Dean come across a report of an unusually nasty and, crucially, inexplicable death; travel to the scene of the crime; consult the lore; follow the clues; slay the beast; and drive home in time for a celebratory beer -- and maybe a slice of roadside-diner pie, if Dean is lucky.

Unfortunately, that last part doesn't come to pass this time around, with Sam and Dean winding up face-to-face with an old enemy they were certain they'd never see again, and left thoroughly shaken by the encounter.

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The story begins with three girls camping the woods, enjoying what they think will be their last trip into the Colorado woods before they all go their separate ways. There's a snapping of twigs, an inquisitive look outside, and before long, only one of them is left alive: Ashley. From her hospital bed, she describes what Sam and Dean -- disguised as Agents Hamill and Ford -- recognize to be a werewolf attack. Fortunately for Ashley, she was spared on the grounds that she keep the incident to herself. Even more fortunately for Sam and Dean, she also knows the name of her attacker -- a man called Andy who lives in a cabin in the woods with his brother, Josh.

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The Winchesters confirm their suspicions when they pay the isolated brothers a visit. Their obvious shiftiness brings about even more suspiciousness from Sam, who comments that the case feels "too easy."Later that night, a frightened Ashley seeks out Sam and Dean's overnight protection, insisting that Dean stay with her in their motel room until she falls asleep. Thinking about her uncertain, post-college future, she wonders out-loud to the older Winchester brother: "Wouldn’t it be great if it was all just planned out for you? If it was all just… decided?" Dean, clearly thinking of his issues with Chuck's omnipresent control, doesn't dwell on the question for long. "No. Not really."

Things become even stranger when Dean suddenly wakes up, hours later, with Ashley gone -- snatched by the werewolf brothers as revenge for her breaking her silence. Dean is baffled at how the two "meatheads" managed to sneak the girl out without waking him up. They arrive at the cabin and find Ashley tied up, but alone. Before they can escape with her, Andy and Josh spring out from their hiding places, overpowering Sam and Dean. Things look like they're about to take a dire turn for the Winchesters but then, to everyone's surprise, Andy -- the more remorseful of the two monster siblings -- decides that enough is enough. He shoots Josh with a silver bullet loaded in Sam's gun before turning the weapon on himself, bringing their human heart-eating days to a bloody end.

"That was... weird," Dean assesses, before things take yet another odd twist when Ashley runs into him in panic and falls, impaling herself on the antlers of a fallen deer head. Sam and Dean look at her lifeless body in horror. And then, she stirs. "Well, that was a bitch."

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Ashley was never really Ashley -- she's actually being possessed by Lilith, resurrected from The Empty by Chuck and sent after Sam and Dean in the guise of one of the Winchester's typical victims. The whole thing was a set-up, she reveals, so that she could seduce Dean in a moment of post-rescue relief and retrieve the Equalizer gun. This revival is a biggie: Lilith was Sam and Dean's first big villain before Lucifer -- the master she worked to unleash so that he could start the Apocalypse. It also falls in-line with what's been a spate of callbacks to the show's first five seasons, hallowed in the eyes of long-time fans as the "Kripke era."

Lilith is not only risen, but she's risen with an even greater vengeance than before: not demon blades, angel blades or even a Devil's Trap bullet can stop her. The latter briefly holds her back from giving Dean the "death by a thousand cuts" treatment, but then she revs herself up to full, earth-shaking, demonic power to squeeze it out of her forehead, proving why Lucifer chose her as his righthand woman. She freezes Sam and Dean in place as they try to get away and quickly deduces that the safest place Dean would have stashed the gun is in his precious Impala. The brothers can only watch in dismay as she melts the weapon down into a black, oozing puddle, ensuring it won't ever be aimed Chuck's way again.

The only silver lining is that, per Chuck's strict instruction, Lilith isn't allowed to kill them -- that would spoil Chuck's carefully plotted ending for the boys. However, the deep dejection she leaves them with instead -- defeated and weapon-less in the face of God at his most wrathful -- might just be worse.

Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, the final season of Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Alexander Calvert.

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