Supernatural's thirteenth season is off to an impressive start, with a second episode ('The Rising Son') that tugged at the heartstrings. Nephilim Jack (Alexander Calvert) is in the care of Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), and watching him waver from innocent and happy child to uber-powerful threat makes for an interesting episode. Dean continues to believe that Jack is plain evil, while Sam wants to help him to be good... and Jack struggles to cope with the Winchester war being waged over him. 'The Rising Son' is touching, funny, and full of hints at what's to come in the new season.
It's also got a few new players to introduce, with a new King of Hell taking the throne and wanting to raise up his favorite breed of evil monster. This is definitely not going to be a ruler of Hell that plays nice with the Winchesters, and while his long-term plans aren't revealed quite yet, they definitely include a lot of fire, brimstone, and torture for humanity. But who is Asmodeus (Jeffrey Vincent Parise), and what can we expect from his pet monsters?
The New Sheriff in Town
Asmodeus appears early on in the episode, in a scene that we caught a glimpse of in the season trailer. Decked out in a white suit, he strides into the Throneroom of Hell with style, and announces that he will be taking over management... just until Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) returns, of course. He also announces his name as Asmodeus, the Prince of Hell - and then slaughters all the demons present who weren't 100% faithful to Lucifer recently. Clearly, this is a whole new kind of Hell on the cards for season 13.
Asmodeus also gives the surviving demons a little backstory in his incredible Southern drawl, providing a little insight into his dealing with Lucifer in the past. Eons ago, Asmodeus wanted to loose a particularly evil brand of monster on the world - the Shedim. Lucifer refused to give his Prince of Hell permission, and when Asmodeus did what he wanted anyway, he was severely punished. He currently bears two scars across his face, given to him by Lucifer for that particular transgression. Now, he considers himself Lucifer's humble servant, his to command in any way that he sees fit... but he's still got a thing about those Shedim, as we find out later in the episode.
Where Are The Other Princes?
For those who may have forgotten who the Princes of Hell are, a little refresher. The Princes of Hell have been tied up with Supernatural lore since the very beginning, when Azazel (Fredric Lehne) appeared as the first big bad, only known (back then) as the Yellow-Eyed Demon. Since then, fans of the show have learned a fair bit about the Princes of Hell, and met three out of the four - until now. The Princes of Hell were the first generation of demons created by Lucifer after his fall. For centuries, they acted as the generals of his demonic armies, and possed powers far greater than those of a normal demon. They have yellow eyes, and are immune to almost any weapon that would usually work on a demon - with the exception of the Colt, the Lance of Michael, the First Blade, and Death's Scythe.
Azazel was killed by Dean, using the Colt, back in the early seasons of the show. More recently, Ramiel and Dagon, the two other Princes, appeared more recently. Ramiel (Jerry Trimble) had possession of the Colt, and was killed by Sam using the Lance of Michael after they tangled with him trying to get it back. Dagon (Ali Ahn), was killed only in season 12, after she kidnapped Jack's pregnant mother in an attempt to keep Jack safe till he could be turned over to Lucifer. Dagon was killed by Castiel (Misha Collins) with a little help from the unborn Jack. Asmodeus is the last of the four Princes, and one that has been described up till now as 'only interested in his hobbies'.
The New Monsters In Town
After 'The Rising Son', it seems that Asmodeus's 'hobby' may be the Shedim, the monsters that he has been trying to raise since he was at Lucifer's side. This may not be the case, of course, as it is never explicitly stated, but Asmodeus still seems obsessed with breaking his pet monsters out - going so far as to pose as a prophet to try and convince Jack to open the prison where the monsters are kept. All that is seen of the Shedim themselves is a white, clawed hand starting to crawl up from the Earth before the prison snaps shut again, but like most of the Supernatural monsters, they do have some basis in lore, and we can extrapolate a little from what we know.
'Shedim' is a Jewish word for demon, one of two classes of demon (the other being the se'irim). The shedim are variously considered to be storm demons, snake demons, forgotten, formless demons, and the offspring of Adam and Lillith. It is likely that (as usual) Supernatural is going to come up with its own interpretation of the Shedim, keeping only their connection to Asmodeus. They are described in 'The Rising Son' as so terrifying that even Lucifer didn't want to deal with them, incredibly strong and powerful. What, exactly, they do has yet to be revealed.
Next week, Supernatural continues with 'Patience', bringing the return of Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) as she and Dean work on a case involving a wraith. Sam will keep trying to help Jack gain control of his powers, and Asmodeus's part in the episode isn't mentioned in the synopsis. It's possible that he'll go back underground (literally) for the episode, although it is also likely that we will see some of his scheming in Hell. Asmodeus has already tried to lure Jack over to the Dark Side to release his pet monsters, and failed, so the Prince of Hell will be attempting to come up with a new plan to use Jack's powers. Of course, if Dean and Jack keep clashing the way they did this week, and if Sam's struggle to save him fails, Asmodeus may simply choose to wait until Jack comes to him of his own accord. In any case, he has plenty of reasons to hate the Winchesters, so he's sure to cause trouble for them in the coming weeks.
Supernatural continues Thursday Oct 26th on the CW with 'Patience'