Supernatural kicks off the holiday season by allowing the Winchesters to regain the one thing no ancient spell or crossroads demon can bring back. Though what this episode does for Sam may be more important than any accomplishments made with a certain person named Suzy Lee (Susie Abromeit), or Carmelita, as you sinners likely know her as.

In this week’s episode, “Rock and a Hard Place,” written by series scribe Jenny Klein, Sam and Dean are born again and begin to lead a new, pure life with a signed vow of chastity to guide them; however, when one of Dean’s “Casa Erotica” dreams becomes a reality, neither Roman god nor vow of anything is going to prevent him from crossing this item off his bucket list, once and for all.

For all intents and purposes, this week’s episode of Supernatural is pure fun, through and through; however, at its core lays proof that a skillful hand was required when writing this episode, in order to balance the familiar series tropes with Dean’s excitement of, well, having sex with a porn star. Although this may not be a tale Supernatural fans are used to seeing from their favorite show, its comedic voice and pure heart allows this episode to unapologetically stand next to those which came before, no matter how sensational (or Holy) the subject matter.

“We got to pray just to make it today…” – MC Hammer

More so, this episode lays the groundwork for Sam to realize that there may be more going on with him than meets the eye; though this a revelation which comes much later in this week’s tale. Before that occurs, Sheriff Jody Mills stops on by to help support Sam’s much-needed character development – and to much success – while Dean is away perfecting his thoroughly entertaining one-man act.

Supernatural is, at its core, a story about two brothers – but there’s one who has been burdened with quite a bit of emotional weight to bear, for quite some time now: Sam. Trial after trial, setback after setback – not to mention dying, or losing his soul – Sam has largely been required to stand in the center of the seasonal tale at hand, while Dean entertains all with punchy one-liners and a controlled intensity audiences wait to see unleashed.

Dean confirms prayer works.

This hasn’t always been the case, however, and there are signs – albeit small ones – which point to Sam being allowed to return to his former self (think: werewolf love), which will help to strength the series even further, for however long it continues on the air. With all that being said, Supernatural has never truly given up on Sam’s character; it’s just easier to allow Dean to do all the leg work, as audiences would rather see a progressive character who makes them laugh than one who is required to drive home the point that, in the middle of all of this episodic fun, serious events are occurring – events which could destroy everything, Heaven and Hell included.

Even so, Supernatural has never been just about Sam, or Dean, and neither of the two will ever be remembered individually. So as far as Dean taking the spotlight, or Sam being riddled with weighty, dangling story-arcs, fans of the series should take comfort in the fact that, as with any great partnership, it’s their ability to compensate for what the other lacks, or is unable to achieve, that makes the thing work. If one considered themselves a “counting man”, it’d be fair to say that, after adding everything up, Sam and Dean, as well as the series as whole, has achieved quite a bit.

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Supernatural returns next week with “Holy Terror” @9pm on CW. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below: