Season 12, Episode 12:
Stuck in the Middle (With You)
Written by: Davy Perez
Directed by: Richard Speight Jr.
Air date: February 16, 2017
Mary asks Sam, Dean and Castiel for help on a case shes working but neglects to mention the British Men of Letters are involved. When Mary is double-crossed, everything is revealed.
Body CountFor this episode: 3 demons and 1 human
For the series so far: At least 1320 humans (of which 22 were witches), 1130 angels (2 of which were archangels), 191 demons, 72 vampires, 59 ghosts, 36 Jefferson Starships, 22 gods, 19 zombies, 17 werewolves, 10 hellhounds, 8 Bisaan, 7 shapeshifters, 7 skinwalkers, 6 changelings, 5 djinn, 6 reapers, 4 dogs, 4 ghouls, 4 Leviathan, 3 Khan Worms, 3 Thule, 2 Amazons, 2 arachnes, 2 kitsunes, 2 rugarus, 2 vetalas, 2 zannas, 1 banshee, 1 cat, 1 crocotta, Death, 1 deer, 1 dragon, 1 fairy, 1 familiar, 1 lamia, The Mother of All, 1 nachzehrer, 1 okami, 1 phoenix, 1 pishtaco, 1 Purgatory creature, 1 qarin, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 shojo, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 soul eater, 1 Titan, 1 wendigo, the Whore of Babylon, 1 wicked witch, and 1 wraith
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Princes of Hell were the first demons turned by Lucifer after Lilith, and so they are the most powerful in the demon hierarchy. Ramiel demonstrates this by not even flinching with stabbed with the demon-killing knife or an angel blade; the former could at least hurt Alastair (a white-eyed demon), and the later could probably kill any demon less powerful than a Knight of Hell (Cain, Abaddon, etc.) Not even devil's trap bullets can hold him or nullify his powers. It takes an archangel's lance that was forged to kill any demon or angel to finally put Ramiel down.
- Body Horror: After being stabbed by Michael's lance, not only will Castiel's wound not stop bleeding, but cracks form all over his body. When he is near death, Castiel starts choking on Bad Black Barf.
- The Bus Came Back:
- Lucifer is back. And on a meta level, he's once again being portrayed by Mark Pellegrino, who hasn't been seen since last season.
- If it's possible for this trope to apply to an object, there's also the Colt, not seen since Season 5.
- Chirping Crickets: Crowley introduces himself to Ramiel like his name should mean something. Ramiel responds with silence broken only by the sound of a cuckoo clock.
- Collector of the Strange: Ramiel likes to collect extremely rare and powerful ancient weapons, probably because most of them are the only weapons that can kill him.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: The four Princes of Hell (Asmodeus, Azazel, Dagon & Ramiel), first turned by Lucifer shortly after Lilith and intended to be the generals of Hell's armies. In the aftermath of Lucifer's downfall, they disappeared. Azazel spent centuries playing a long game to free Lucifer, but the other three had no interest in his machinations and had retired to live quiet lives focused on their own interests.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: The Princes of Hell didn't go in for helping Lucifer escape the cage and starting the apocalypse, probably because like Crowley, they knew they'd get the axe along with humanity.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Ramiel doesn't know or care much who Crowley is; he ends up telling Crowley to take the crown simply because he's young, ambitious and happens to be there, and more to the point, Ramiel himself doesn't want it.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Mary warns Arthur Ketch that their partnership is over if he leads her and her sons to another suicide mission. He asked if that's a threat, Mary tells him it's a promise. After a moment of the two glaring at each other, Arthur concedes.
- In Medias Res: The whole episode shows different events at different times out of order to establish suspense, and then show the intervening scenes towards the end that reveal what the suspense was about.
- Legendary Weapon:
- Ramiel received two as a gift from Crowley after Lucifer's first defeat in season 5: the first is the spear of the Archangel Michael which smites any demon instantly and can kill any angel, but does it slowly and painfully because Michael created it to take out Lucifer.
- Crowley's second gift to Ramiel was the Colt revolver from the early half of the series which can kill almost anything, which explains what Crowley did with it after Lucifer's first defeat. The British Men of Letters tasked Mary with stealing it from Ramiel.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Mary doesn't bother to look into what the Men of Letters are sending her into. It gets Wally killed, and Castiel is brought close to death, too.
- Not Quite Dead: It was assumed after the deaths of Azazel, Lilith, Alastair, Abaddon and Cain that there were no senior ranking demons left in hell above crossroad demons. It turns out there are three yellow-eyed Princes of Hell still alive who are comfortably retired and don't care about ruling Hell or conquering Heaven, or freeing their creator, Lucifer. But they will kill anyone who comes hunting for them.
- Oh, Crap!: Mary when she sees that Ramiel has yellow eyes. Understandable, since the last time she saw that, she died.
- Retired Monster: The yellow-eyed Princes of Hell, brothers and sisters of Azazel. They stopped caring about Heaven and Hell long ago and saw Azazel as a ridiculous fanatic. Instead they prefer to live quietly and engage in their own hobbies, some of which involve the occasional cattle mutilation or murder of a local virgin girl.
- Rule of Symbolism: Crowley reveals that Lucifer created the four Princes of Hell to be the generals of Hell's armies, just as God created the four Archangels to be the generals of Heaven's armies.
- Talk to the Fist: Ramiel knocks Crowley through the barn's wall when Crowley tries to make a new deal with him.
- Tragic Mistake: The Winchesters severely underestimate what they're up against with Ramiel, and it gets their fellow hunter Wally killed. To be fair, they had no idea how powerful Ramiel really was.
- Underestimating Badassery: The British Men of Letters genuinely didn't know that Ramiel was a Prince of Hell, probably because it was such a well-kept secret by all the Princes that any were still alive.
- Unexpected Successor: How Crowley became the King of Hell in the first place. He Offered the Crown to Ramiel first, probably because he believed that a Prince of Hell could and would take it and wanted to be on their side when it happened. It turns out that neither Ramiel nor any of the other Princes even want the throne and he suggests Crowley take it with his blessing before some other lesser demon tries to.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The Winchesters assume Crowley has done this when he disappears from the barn. In truth he's gone out to try making a deal with Ramiel. It doesn't work, but hey, points for trying.
- Villains Out Shopping: Ramiel actually likes to spend a lot of his time fishing.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The spear of Michael is an angelic weapon that can kill any angel or demon, yet reversing its slow-killing effects on an angel is as simple as snapping it in half, freeing the holy magic it contains.
- Wham Episode:
- It's revealed that Azazel wasn't the only yellow-eyed demon; he was a Prince of Hell. And what's worse, his yellow-eyed brethren are very much alive and perpetuating the story that they're all dead in order to be left alone.
- Lucifer is back, taunting Crowley in hell and played once again by Mark Pellegrino.
- Mary is indeed working with the British Men of Letters, and keeping that fact from Sam and Dean. And she just helped them get their hands on the Colt.
- Wham Shot: The shot of Ramial with yellow eyes a sign that not only is everyone in way over their head, but that are other yellow-eyed demons.
- Whole Plot Reference: The numerous Shout-Out to Reservoir Dogs put the episode in this territory. The title is taken from the song by Stealers Wheel used in the movie. The slo-mo walk is repeated. And like the film, the episode cuts from a placid group breakfast to a bloody aftermath where someone lies bleeding to death.
- World Building: More is revealed about the demon hierarchy: Instead of just being another example of "powerful demons having different-colored eyes", yellow-eyed demons are the Princes of Hell, personally turned by Lucifer to be the generals of Hell's demon armies. Not only were there more than just Azazel, they're all still alive and living quiet retired lives because they don't give a damn about Hell or Heaven anymore.