Now that Sam and Dean have finally recovered from the previous finale, it’s time for Supernatural season 9 to reveal the season story-arc which will follow the Winchester’s to the end of season.  Are you prepared for a battle for Hell and the return of Kevin “Solo” Tran (Osric Chau)?

In the Supernatural season 9 premiere, an over-arching tale to introduce this season’s adventures was, instead, replaced with a more intimate story about Sam and Dean’s relationship, allowing fans to once again connect to the core tale of two brothers battling evil. Now, in week two, “Devil May Care”, written by longtime scribe Andre Dabb, it appears that Crowley (Mark Sheppard), the King of Hell, may be in the most danger, as one of Hell’s originals returns to claim the throne.

As Sam set out to complete the Trials last season, Crowley slowly began to become human, to feel human emotions. With Crowley still in the custody of the Winchesters, Abaddon (Alaina Huffman), the last surviving member of Lucifer’s hand-picked Knights of Hell, has once again restored herself and, now, is not only attempting to take over Hell, but is also attempting to Change the rules that Demons follow when making deals with humans.

After more than a season of Kevin Tran, some fans may still find it difficult to accept the (once) newly-dubbed Prophet – who (arguably) appeared out of nowhere and began to recite dialogue which stated exactly why he’s important to the cause. In this season’s introduction of “Solo”, however, both Tran’s tale and his character are softened, which allows for Sam and Dean – well, mostly Dean – to, instead (and finally), provide a strong argument for his inclusion. When Dean says to Kevin, “We are all we’ve got,” it’s as if the elder Winchester was acknowledging to fans that, though the setting isn’t ideal (when is it ever), Kevin is the only character who can truly help them now. That is, of course, if one forgets the other hunters.

It may have been a long time coming, but Supernatural has finally brought back a few hunters for Sam and Dean to interact with, which allows the series to hold on to its roots while still progressing the overall storyline and escalating the situation at hand. True, the two hunters were more than likely introduced to warm audiences up for the backdoor pilot which will come later this year, but their inclusion in the original series (especially at this moment) is an important one – one which allows audiences to see the Winchesters (once again) work with other hunters, even if there was already a backstory between the characters.

For all intents and purposes, this week’s episode is more of the typical Supernatural faire, as the intent wasn’t to introduce, but to explore the newfound setting of Earth following the Angels fall from Heaven. Sam, Dean and Crowley all take earnest steps in evolving their characters this season and, from what’s been shown so far, audiences should be excited about what’s to come as the season progress. (And yes, that includes Sam becoming a better vessel for Ezekiel’s (Tahmoh Penikett) Grace.)

As it currently stands, Supernatural season 9 is a mature, adept exploration into the series mythology – both literally and philosophically – which allows both the fans and the producers to stand next to the series and explicitly show why it still deserves to be on the air. Yes, there have been sidesteps here and there, but for what it’s worth, Supernatural still goes above and beyond what’s required for a show still on the air after 9 years – and if the start of this season is a sign of what’s to come, there’s no doubt that a terrific showdown will help usher audiences in to the show’s (likely) soon-to-be-confirmed tenth season.

Supernatural returns next Tuesday with “I’m No Angels” @9PM on CW. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below.