“First Born” opens on a bunch of demons, Knights of Hell, being slaughtered in a cabin. The killer, who we later find out is Caine, gets to his destination and kicks a door down. That kick leads directly into the fiery Supernatural logo—one of the best teaser-to-logo transitions the Supernatural folks have done in quite some time. The first shot of Dean is equally impressive. Dean is sitting at a bar, and as he looks right, the camera looks with him. Then he and the camera quickly look the other way, and Crowley makes his surprise appearance. It was a fun shot.
In this episode, we also see the odd pairings of Crowley with Dean on one mission, searching for the one weapon that can kill Abaddon, and Sam and Castiel working to locate Gadreel. Not only are Sam and Dean literally working with opposite entities from Heaven and Hell, they’ve also switched their roles from a few seasons back, when it was Sam buddied up to demon Ruby and Dean having his private chats with Cas.
Dean and the King of Hell visit one of Daddy Winchester’s old contacts, a hunter named Kate. There’s such possibilities for a rich history of other hunters out there fighting the good fight. Kate’s story is that she worked with John Winchester back in the day, and a battlefield injury gave her a trick knee that acts up whenever a demon is nearby.
Meanwhile Sam and Cas have discovered that Sam has a bit of Gadreel’s grace. They can use this grace to find Gadreel, but it will be an excruciating process to extract it. Sam gladly accepts the challenge, even though it might kill him. Castiel reveals that his brief time as a human taught him more than a fondness for peanut butter and jelly. He stops the process before it can kill Sam, remarking that these Winchesters are always willing to leap headlong into death, but he’s not willing to lose his friends.
Despite the seriousness of the episode, there was so much of that classic Supernatural humor. Castiel stole the show with his love of PB&J and how jam was just unsettling. When Sam says he’s a terrible liar, he retorts with “That’s not true. I once deceived and betrayed you and your brother!” He was so indignant you couldn’t help but laugh.
Crowley and Dean discover the weapon they need to kill Abaddon belongs to Caine, the infamous betrayer of Biblical lore. Crowley is terrified, and when Caine offers them tea, Crowley’s hands shake so much he can barely hold the delicate teacup. But oh wait, this is Crowley we’re talking about here. This wasn’t a rare look at him frightened, this was Crowley the Great Deceiver. He just wanted Dean to be the one to take the “mark” from Caine, a painful burned symbol on his arm that would allow him to use the Knight-killing blade.
We end the episode with not enough grace to find Gadreel and Dean bearing this mark to wield the weapon with unknown consequences. This last half of the season is really heaping on the problems for the Winchester Boys.