In 1973, the Prince of Hell Azazel was able to communicate with Lucifer in his Cage in Hell and ask how to free him. Lucifer told him he'd need to free Lilith from Hell and find a very special child for him. To this end, Azazel began making deals so he could feed his blood to six month old infants to prepare them for Lucifer's plans, making them the Special Children. He also attempted to break the First Seal by getting John Winchester into Hell through a deal, but Alastair ultimately failed to break the man.
In order to free Lilith who was trapped "neck deep" in Hell, Azazel decided to have one of his Special Children open the Devil's Gate in Wyoming as he couldn't cross its defenses himself. He held a "competition" where the Special Children fought each other to the death in Cold Oak, South Dakota. Jake Talley ultimately won, killing Sam Winchester in the process. In desperation, his brother Dean made a deal with a Crossroad Demon to bring Sam back and got one year to live. Shortly afterwards, both Jake and Azazel were killed by Sam and Dean respectively with the help of the ghost of their father who took the opportunity to escape from Hell himself, but not before an army of demons was unleashed through the Devil's Gate, Lilith included.
With Azazel dead, Lilith picked up where he left off and set about wreaking havoc on Earth while preparing for Dean to get sent to Hell to break the First Seal at which point she'd start breaking the others. To help prepare Sam for when he'd need to kill her with his powers, Lilith sent her demon minion Ruby to disguise herself as an ally and gain the Winchesters' trust so she could manipulate Sam. Despite the Winchesters best efforts, at the end of the year, Dean was killed by a hellhound and his soul was dragged to Hell.
Once in Hell, Dean was tortured by the white-eyed demon Alastair who offered him the chance to get off the rack at the end of the day if he'd start torturing himself. Dean held out for thirty years in Hell time (3 months in Earth time) before finally breaking and spending the next ten years as Alastair's apprentice and a torturer in Hell himself. Unknown to him, Dean broke the First Seal as the demons wanted when he did this.
Needing Dean alive for their own plans, the angels eventually sent a garrison led by the angel Castiel to rescue Dean, but purposefully waited until after he broke so that they could let the Apocalypse happen. In Hell, the garrison faced tough opposition, but Castiel ultimately managed to reach Dean and pull him from Hell. Castiel restored Dean's soul to his body and resurrected him, but due to his angelic touch, left a burn in the shape of a handprint on Dean's shoulder. Dean's resurrection also causes the trees around his grave to fall outwards in a perfect circle.
After being resurrected, Dean wakes up in his coffin fully healed of his injuries from the hellhound and with no idea of how he got there. Dean then digs himself out of his grave, confused of what is going on. Dean then makes his way to a nearby gas station where he gets supplies and hears a high-pitched noise that is, unknown to him, Castiel attempting to communicate with him. However, Dean can't understand angels true voices so it only causes him pain and confusion.
After being unable to reach Sam, Dean calls Bobby, however Bobby doesn't believe it's actually Dean and hangs up. So he travels to Bobby's for his help. Bobby initially attacks Dean, believing him to be a shapeshifter, revenant or demon, but Dean is able to prove its him with a silver knife and holy water. Bobby and Dean are unable to understand Dean's return from Hell and Bobby tells him that he hasn't heard from Sam in months as Sam went off on his own soon after they buried Dean. Bobby tells Dean that Sam said Dean would need his body when Sam got him back and Dean figures Sam did manage to bring him back and whatever he did was "bad mojo" from the trees fallen near the gravesite, the presence at the gas station and the handprint burned into his shoulder. Dean guesses Sam made a deal to bring him back and uses his knowledge of Sam to locate him through his cell phone GPS. Finding him in Pontiac, Illinois, Dean and Bobby grow more suspicious as that's where Dean was buried and resurrected.
Arriving at Sam's motel room, they are greeted by Ruby who pretends she thinks they are someone else. Sam attacks Dean when he sees him, thinking that its a trick, but Bobby is able to convince Sam that its really Dean. Ruby is able to make it seem like she's Sam's date and leaves without drawing suspicion from Dean and Bobby who question Sam on what it took to bring Dean back. Sam insists that he didn't do it, that he tried everything but failed. Finally, Dean and Bobby realize that Sam is telling the truth and wonder what did bring Dean back if Sam had nothing to do with it and why. Sam explains that he's been hunting Lilith for revenge when suddenly some demons he'd been chasing suddenly headed to that town the morning before which is when Dean came back. The three realize it must be connected, but wonder what the connection is. Bobby suggests visiting a psychic friend of his for help and when Sam asks Dean about what he remembers of Hell, he lies and tells him he doesn't remember anything. On the way to the psychic, Sam explains that after Dean was killed, he proved to be immune to her white light at which point she fled. He lies that Ruby is either dead, or in hell when Dean asks about her and tells him that he hasn't been using his psychic powers like Dean wanted when asked.
Reaching Bobby's psychic friend Pamela Barnes, they ask if she's heard anything about Dean's mysterious resurrection, but she tells them that while she's talked to a dozen spirits, no one's heard anything. Pamela suggests that they perform a séance to see if they can find out who brought Dean back though they won't summon it to them. Pamela performs the séance, demanding the being appear to her. She eventually contacts Castiel, getting his name and a warning to stop. She refuses to be frightened and continues to command Castiel to show her his face. Finally, she sees Castiel's face and it causes her eyes to burn out of her head. Sam quickly calls an ambulance and Pamela survives, but is left permanently blind by her attempt to find out who and what Castiel is.
After making sure Pamela is okay, Sam and Dean go to a diner where they discuss their options. Now that they have Castiel's name, Dean suggests summoning him and working him over for answers. Sam doesn't like the idea since just looking at Castiel burned out Pamela's eyes and he believes that they won't survive a face to face meeting with him. Instead, Sam suggests finding the demons he followed to town and questioning them for answers instead. Before they can discuss things further, their waitress returns with their pie and reveals herself to be one of the demons that Sam followed to town. The diner cook and another customer are the other two demons and they lock Sam and Dean in with them. The waitress asks Dean about what pulled him from the Pit, but he tells her he doesn't know and asks what she knows instead. The waitress doesn't believe Dean's telling the truth and threatens to throw him back into Hell if he doesn't tell her what she wants to know. Dean realizes the waitress doesn't know what pulled him out of Hell but is scared of it and tells her that whatever it was that pulled him out, was a lot stronger than she is and it wanted him out so if she sends him back to Hell, the being will likely come looking for revenge. Dean hits the waitress a couple of times and she does nothing, proving his theory. Sam and Dean simply walk out of the diner with the demons unable to stop them and Sam demands to know if they are going to just leave the demons there and not go after them. Dean points out that there's at least three demons, possibly more and they've only got one demon-killing knife between them. Sam tells him he's taken out more demons than that recently and the demons are dangerous and need to be stopped, but Dean just tells him that the demons are scared and can be dealt with later because they have to deal with whatever pulled Dean from Hell.
That night, Sam sneaks out to go after the demons alone and while he's gone, Castiel returns to speak to Dean who once more can't stand the sound of his true voice which causes him immense pain and shatters all the glass in his motel room. Castiel departs after Bobby returns and Dean decides to go with Bobby to summon Castiel and find out what's going on rather than keep looking for answers elsewhere. After calling Sam, Dean lies to him about what he's doing while Sam does the same. Dean explains to Bobby that Sam would only try to stop them and they have to face this being head-on. While they don't know what it is, they have the demon-killing knife and Bobby has an arsenal in his trunk so they can prepare to face this thing. Dean tells Bobby that whatever it is that brought him back is after him and he needs to face it as he can't hide from it. Bobby reluctantly agrees to help, but feels that they could use Sam's help. Dean tells him that Sam's better off where he is and they can handle it by themselves.
Returning to the diner to face the demons, Sam finds the two male demons dead with their eyes burned out. The waitress demon is revealed to still be alive and attacks Sam, but like the other demons, has her eyes burned out. The waitress tells Sam she saw what pulled Dean out of Hell and, clearly terrified, explains that "its the end. We're dead. We're all dead." However, she refuses to identify what the being is and tells Sam to go to Hell. Sam simply exorcises the demon with his powers, but the waitress herself doesn't survive the damage Castiel did to her body. Ruby arrives and compliments Sam on his use of his powers. Sam asks Ruby what's going on and tells her he and Dean think a high-level demon pulled Dean from Hell. Ruby tells him no demon has that kind of power, not even Lilith can do that and what has been happening is cosmic. Ruby tells Sam that nothing she's ever seen before has this kind of power. The two sit down to discuss Dean's return and Sam's psychic powers and Sam tells Ruby that he won't tell Dean the truth yet as Dean will just try to stop him and while he doesn't know if what he's doing is right or if he can even trust Ruby, he is saving people and stopping demons which feels good and he wants to continue doing it.
Choosing an abandoned barn, Dean and Bobby set up to summon Castiel with Bobby setting up traps and talismans from every faith around the globe, including devil's traps. At the same time, Dean prepares their weapons arsenal which includes the demon-killing knife, silver knives, stakes, iron and salt. Even though they're ready to trap and kill anything they've ever heard of, Bobby is still reluctant to go through with the summoning but eventually casts the spell at Dean's insistence. Nothing happens at first, but finally the building shakes and realizing Castiel is coming, Dean and Bobby arm themselves with shotguns filled with rock salt. Moments after they arm themselves, Castiel breaks through the door, causing the bulbs in the barn to shatter and walks right through all of their traps without being affected. Dean and Bobby unload their shotguns into Castiel's chest, but it doesn't even slow him down. When Dean demands to know who Castiel is, Castiel simply tells him "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition." Sarcastically thanking Castiel for doing that, Dean stabs him in the heart with the demon-killing knife to no affect at all. Castiel pulls the knife out and Bobby takes the opportunity to swing an iron crowbar at his head. Castiel easily grabs the crowbar and swings Bobby around in front of him. Castiel then stuns Bobby with a touch and informs Dean that they need to talk alone.
Dean checks on Bobby who is just stunned and Castiel assures him that Bobby is unharmed. Dean demands to know what Castiel is and Castiel tells him that he's an angel of the Lord. Dean doesn't believe him, thinking that there is no such thing, but Castiel tells Dean his problem is that he has no faith and shows Dean his wings. Though shocked to see an actual angel, Dean berates Castiel for burning out Pamela's eyes but Castiel explains that he warned Pamela not to spy on his true form as it can be overwhelming for humans. Seeing his true form burned out her eyes and hearing his true voice, which is also overwhelming for humans, is what caused Dean such pain at the gas station and motel. When Dean tells him off for that, Castiel admits he made a mistake as some humans, special humans, are capable of perceiving his true visage. Castiel had thought that Dean would be one of them but was wrong which is why Dean couldn't understand him when Castiel attempted to speak to him in his true form. When asked what visage he is in now, Castiel tells Dean that he is in a vessel which causes Dean to realize Castiel is possessing someone similar to what a demon does. Castiel assures Dean that the man he is possessing is fine with the possession and actually prayed for it to happen. Dean doesn't believe Castiel and demands to know who the angel really is. Castiel is confused as he already told Dean and insists that good things do happen. Dean tells Castiel that they don't in his experience and Castiel realizes that Dean doesn't believe he deserved to be saved. Dean asks why Castiel saved him and Castiel informs him that he did it "because God commanded it. Because we have work for you."
After Castiel leaves, Dean informs Sam and Bobby of what Castiel told him. Bobby discovers from his lore books that only an angel can pull a human from Hell and Dean eventually starts to reluctantly accept Castiel told him the truth. Shortly afterwards, the demons begin breaking the 66 Seals in earnest now that the First Seal is broken, something Castiel informs Dean of. While Dean comes to believe that the angels brought him back for a good reason, the reaper Tessa warns him not to trust their plans and proves to be right as the angels actually want to use him to act as Michael's vessel to kill Lucifer and end the Apocalypse, something that would destroy most of the world.
While Sam continues to lie about his powers following Dean's return, Dean eventually finds out the truth after Sam sneaks out and Castiel sends Dean after him. Sam ceases use of his powers following this, but eventually restarts using them after not wanting to be still hunting when he's old and starts lying about it again.
- First encounter with an angel besides Gabriel in his disguise as the Trickster. More specifically, the first encounter with Castiel, the Winchester's staunchest ally following his first appearance.
- While Dean and Bobby are unable to cause any sort of harm to or trap Castiel, they later gain knowledge that allows the Winchesters to banish trap and even kill angels as well as keep them out of places.
- Castiel is shown to be telling the truth about his vessel: the man, Jimmy Novak did actually pray for guidance from the angels and allowed Castiel in with his permission. As later revealed, a vessel's permission is needed for an angel to possess them.
- Dean's resurrection causes former angel Anna Milton to start hearing angel voices and eventually regain knowledge of her true nature.
- In their encounter with the three demons, Dean is worried about taking three demons on at a time with only one knife between them while Sam is unconcerned as he has taken on more than that since Dean's death. In later episodes, the Winchesters do take on more demons than just three. In a fight in Cain's house, Dean actually takes on three demons single-handedly while Cain and Crowley (who dispatches a fourth demon who attacked him personally) just watch. Dean wins the fight without assistance from either demon or any sort of magical assistance and impresses Cain with his skills.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lucifer Rising
- ↑ In My Time of Dying
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 On The Head Of A Pin
- ↑ All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 1
- ↑ All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 2
- ↑ No Rest For The Wicked
- ↑ Heaven and Hell
- ↑ The Rapture
- ↑ Lazarus Rising
- ↑ Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Death Takes A Holiday
- ↑ Sympathy for the Devil
- ↑ Metamorphosis
- ↑ Criss Angel Is A Douchebag