In this week’s episode of Supernatural, “Blade Runners,” written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming, Sam and Dean are forced to track down Crowley in order to obtain the First Blade. Thanks in no part to a crossroads demon named Snooki, Sam and Dean rescue their foreign friend from his blood addiction, and the location of the First Blade is revealed to be in a mysterious place. When Sam and Dean visit a rogue Man of Letters, Magnus, to retrieve the blade, a super-powered Dean becomes the new addition to Magnus’ supernatural collection, forcing Crowley to help out Moose and not Moose.

After a disjointed Ghostfacers episode and week hiatus, everyone was wondering how the series would seamlessly reintroduce the many ongoing story-arcs. A demonic drug addiction is a good place to start, apparently, and a major portion of the episode is heavily focused on Crowley’s ever-growing humanity – a story which now, thanks to it being sacrificed as proverbial filler, has become just that.

Crowley’s exploration of human emotions was one of the most promising story-arcs from the season 8 finale, and previous episodes have slightly touched upon his affinity for blood. Now, however, Crowley has been momentarily turned into Castiel’s annoying cousin, and the only purpose to include him in this episode is because Crowley is required to connect the Winchesters to the First Blade. Crowley’s storylines always show promise, as Mark Sheppard has proven he has the ability to fully inhabit any character – so hopefully the next time this storyline is revisited it’ll be in a subtle, more focused way.

Jumping in and out of this episode quite quickly is Mr. Magnus. A rich collector of supernatural artifacts in a world that’s been established for over 10 years – just imagine the possibilities! Well, he’s dead now. There hasn’t been a character on the series in years who spoke as passionately about the supernatural as Magnus, and though he was technically a bad guy, he helped reinvigorate some the mythology that has been thrown in throughout this season, making what’s occurring that much more exciting to watch.

Even so, Dean’s marks, when paired with the First Blade, have proven to be a powerful tool that the Winchesters can use against whatever power they’ll be facing this time around. Sam had his go at being super-powered; this is Dean’s turn. How successful this may be, however, is something the episodes to come will have to continuously prove. If anything, Cain’s warning about using the mark and the blade should ultimately result in an enjoyable conclusion.

Supernatural is at an interesting point in its season – not to mention an interesting point in its lifetime. Supernatural: Bloodlines is right around the corner, which means an entire episode will be dedicated in launching that story. Somewhere, sometime, throughout all this, the series still needs to justify its reason for still being on the air.

When Jeremy Carver took over the series as showrunner he revealed that he has a season 10 goal for the series. As we’ve now learned that goal has extended further, and the network is ready to bring it back as long as the ratings hold. In the mid-season condition it currently finds itself in, there’s more than enough reason to hope that things will turn around and a succinct story will ultimately be revealed. If not, your fingers better be crossed extra-hard in order help make Supernatural: Bloodlines become the worthy successor fans already know it isn’t.

Supernatural returns next Tuesday with an Adam Glass episode, “Mother’s Little Helper,” @9pm on CW. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below: