What’s better than watching “Supernatural” riff on Tarantino (especially that lovingly recreated slo-mo strut) in “Stuck In The Middle (With You)” (Feb.16)? Not much… Although discovering Lucifer has seemingly slipped back into that tailor-made Mark Pellegrino suit (always his most flattering look) is the cherry on the homage-flavored sundae.

Add some backstory on how Crowley (Mark Sheppard) got his crown, bring our favorite angel back from the brink by said King of Hell, in a Clint Eastwood-y kind of way, and have one of the most important artifacts in the show’s mythology resurface, and you’ve got yourself a helluva episode — and one directed by our favorite Trickster/Gabriel (Richard Speight Jr.), no less.

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We do have to say, though, that Mother Winchester (Samantha Smith) working covertly as an agent for the British Men of Letters isn’t sitting exactly right. Sure, they’re saving lots of people, but when hunter Wally asks Mary if she trusts them, even she can’t answer that question. Let’s not forget that Cas was pretty damn close to dying, thanks to her subterfuge: It all raises some tricky questions about her loyalties.

jensen ackles supernatural grim face Were still looking for a twist in Supernaturals rollicking Tarantino jaunt

Of course, she’s Sam and Dean’s mother, and it’s not her fault that she spent so many years dead — but she’s proven a bit distant (sometimes literally) since rejoining the living. In contrast, Cas has become one of the family, as beautifully reflected in his speech to the Winchesters — and he’s gone out on infinitely more limbs for the brothers than anyone from their biological family tree. It’s awfully interesting, too, that Cas is the only one who seems to notice Mary behaving strangely — and the only one wanting to dive deeper into Ramiel’s demand he be given back what was stolen from him, in this heist gone almost wrong. Mary’s collusion with smooth-talking Arthur Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) had her risking not only everyone’s lives, but now the trust of her sons, now that they’ve come out the other side of this episode intact.

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Did Mary know she’d be stealing the Colt? Ironically, she seemed genuinely surprised, even shocked, to be staring into those old familiar yellow eyes yet again. Ketch seems to be asking permission to simply gaze adoringly at it (“Can I see it?” he asks), which would seem to imply Mary will be the one holding onto it.

Regardless, Mary now has her hands on the very thing that was so important to the Winchesters due to its ability to kill the demon Azazel who killed her. (Yes, it’s awesome that such a sentence makes perfect sense to us all.) There are only five things the gun can’t kill, she reminds Ketch — so is she gunning for something, or someone, that it can kill?

This artifact is infinitely more valuable now, with a new strain of super-demons in the mix — the very same that were made by Lucifer himself. And Ramiel lets slip too that his sister has taken a “special interest” in Lucifer’s bun in the oven… And something tells us she wants to do more than squeal in delight over fuzzy duckie onesies at the baby shower.

jared padalecki supernatural havin a think Were still looking for a twist in Supernaturals rollicking Tarantino jaunt

Meanwhile, it’s hard to believe Ketch’s “mea culpa” about not realizing who or what Mary was up against on this case. “Bad intel,” from people who can reroute satellites and keep all of England mostly monster-free? The same ones with the supernatural James Bond lab in their basement, cranking out state-of-the-art gadgets that can kill pretty much any strain of non-human in the most exciting ways possible? Hmmm…

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Crowley is of course all too eager to get his hellfire-hot little hands on the Colt — and given that he did just save Cas (Misha Collins) with sheer swagger, in a pure mic drop (make that lance drop) moment, is it wrong to feel like maybe he’s earned it a bit more than Mary? Better the devil you know, maybe?

Once again, the loyalties crafted over the course of the past several seasons would be hard to explain to an outsider: It’s not like it’s unreasonable for Mary to have an independent agenda, and we don’t know yet that it’s not a perfectly savvy one, once we get the eagle-eye view of it. And Heaven (or Hell) knows that Crowley’s always looking out for number one. It’s just that Crowley and Cas seem to have a fondness for the brothers Winchester that has been forged the hard (and often weird) way — even Rowena (Ruth Connell) put her neck on the line for Dean last week… And all the while, Mary keeps gazing out onto the horizon, with a cagey sort of longing that has yet to really be explained.

And speaking of cages (and kennels) — helloooooo, Mark Pellegrino! Crowley will undoubtedly try to keep his new “dog” on a short leash, but Lucifer’s got some hellspawn to hatch. Plan on humming “Who Let The Dogs Out?” a few episodes from now, once Lucifer “negotiates” his parental leave rights…

“Supernatural” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Posted by:Julia Diddy

Julia Diddy is a freelance writer and critic in Los Angeles.