Supernatural wrapped up its twelfth season last week, and it was a humdinger. The two-part story 'Who We Are' and 'All Along The Watchtower' saw the destruction of the British Men Of Letters in the United States, the birth of Kelly Kline's (Courtney Ford) child with Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), and Lucifer's return to the world. In addition to those massive moments, the season finale also introduced yet another alternate universe to the Supernatural canon, and came with a body count that was impressively high, even by Supernatural standards.
Most shocking of all was the loss of two of the longest-running and best-loved characters in the show (other than the Winchester brothers themselves): Castiel (Misha Collins) and Crowley (Mark Sheppard). The angel and the King of Hell have been with the Winchesters since 2008 and 2009, respectively, and their loss in the same finale is a double-whammy that has fans wondering... could these two really be dead?
The Body Count
It's not unusual for a Supernatural season finale to involve the death of a major character, but this season's finale seemed determined to slaughter everyone in sight.
- Eileen Leahy: The Irish hunter (played by Shoshannah Stern) was the first to die in the season finale, killed by Ketch's trained Hell Hound.
- Lady Bevell: Elizabeth Blackmore's portrayal of a buttoned up member of the British Men of Letters came to an end in the finale, her throat slit by Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) in the Winchester's bunker.
- Arthur Ketch: The psychotic British Men of Letters killer has had a complicated relationship with Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) this season, and it felt very fitting that she was the one to put a bullet in his brain.
- The British Men Of Letters: In addition to the death of both Lady Bevell and Arthur Ketch, the remaining British Men of Letters are slaughtered in their headquarters when Sam (Jared Padalecki) leads a cadre of the remaining hunters against them. This effectively ends their attempt to return to US soil. (The battle also takes out a few hunters.)
- Rowena: Crowley's mother, and the only remaining witch powerful enough to put Lucifer back in his cage, Rowena (Ruth Connell) was tortured, killed, and burned by Lucifer on his escape.
- Crowley: Crowley managed to die TWICE this episode, first when stabbed by Lucifer - although he escaped by taking temporary refuge in a rat. His second, more lasting demise came as he attempted to take down Lucifer in the other dimension, made accessible when Kelly's birth opens a rip between worlds. Crowley enters with Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles), intending to perform a spell to send Lucifer back to Hell. The spell requires the sacrifice of a life, and Crowley steps up to try and make it work.
- Castiel: Everyone's favorite angel has survived an impressive amount over the years, but finally met his end at the end of an angel blade. After believing that he and Crowley finally defeated Lucifer, Castiel steps through the rift between worlds, and is stabbed in the back by Lucifer.
- Kelly Kline: This was no shock, but the birth of her child killed Kelly Kline.
In addition to all of the death, the finale ends with Mary punching Lucifer back through the rift into an alternate dimension, and falling in after him just before the rip closes. These two aren't technically dead, but they are definitely not part of the main Supernatural universe right now.
What Happens To Angels (And Demons) When They Die?
The two biggest deaths in the finale, Castiel and Crowley, both seem pretty permanent at first glance.
Castiel was stabbed with an angel blade, one of the only weapons in the entire universe that is capable of truly killing an angel (as well as several other supernatural beings). So far in the series, angels killed with these blades haven't reappeared, so it seems that death by angel blade is permanent. What, exactly, happens to angels at death has yet to be revealed, but it does seem that their souls can be recovered, as God was able to resurrect Castiel in the past. Castiel himself has also survived an angel blade, but only because he was not truly an angel at the time - this time, however, he has no such protection.
Crowley was also killed with an angel blade, which is capable of killing demons and Hell Hounds as well as angels. Unlike his earlier 'death' in the finale, which involved none of the eye-changing and colorful light that a true demon death does, this time it looks like Crowley truly died. The rift also closed, which required a death, so we can assume that he actually did die. Like angels, it's not clear what happens to demons after death - the general assumption is that they are simply wiped out of existence.