Warning: spoilers ahead for the Season 15 premiere of Supernatural, called "Back and to the Future."
The Winchester family has experienced no shortage of tragedies on Supernatural, with most of them dying more than once over the 14 seasons of the series so far. Arguably the member of the family with the most tragic fate, however, is the son of John Winchester who doesn't have the Winchester name: Adam Milligan. He's been gone and too often forgotten since the end of Season 5, but he's coming back to the action, and the Season 15 premiere revealed how Supernatural can bring him back despite what happened to him.
First, a refresher on what happened to Adam, and then we'll jump into what's going down in Season 15.
The Road So Far For Adam
The younger half-brother of Sam and Dean who they didn't even know existed until Season 4, Adam was lost after he became the vessel to the original Michael and wound up locked in the cage with Sam and Lucifer. Dean was able to make a deal to pull one of his brothers out of the cage, and he chose Sam, because of course he did. Lucifer made it out of the cage as well, meaning that the only ones left in the cage were Adam and Michael.
Unfortunately for Adam, that was in the best interest of humanity, as an unleashed Michael would be very bad for everybody. In fact, in the pre-episode recap ahead of "Back and to the Future," viewers were reminded that an unleashed Michael is the end for everybody.
So, as sad as it's been for Adam to be locked in the cage with a vengeful and terrifying archangel, it's been best for him to stay there if that's what it took to keep Michael contained. Now, all bets are off thanks to God's actions in the Season 14 finale, and both Adam and Michael can return.
What Happens Next With Adam
The reveal of how Adam can return came courtesy of an unlikely source: the demon Belphagor, who took residence in Jack's corpse once Jack was dead and God opened up the doors from Hell. Surprisingly nonchalant, Belphagor popped on a pair of sunglasses to conceal Jack's burned-out eyes, explained that he's just a regular old demon who likes his job in Hell, and wants everything back the way it was.
Basically, God unleashing the souls from Hell back on Earth means lots of ghosts and monsters roaming around topside, and that means a shortage of souls for the demons to torture in Hell. Belphagor ultimately revealed to Dean that God's move did more than just welcome the dead souls back up to Earth. God opened all the doors in Hell, which includes the door to the cage.
In fact, Dean specifically asked about the cage and what's happening with Michael. For his part, Belphagor specifically said the door to the cage was open, Michael was just sitting around the cage last he heard, and sarcastically suggested that it wasn't like Michael was the type to hold a grudge if he got out!
Since it's been confirmed (via TVLine) that Jake Abel will return as Adam in Season 15, and that God will bring back some "old familiar faces" to mess with Sam and Dean, I'm guessing we can count on a less-than-happy reunion when the boys are all together again. Poor Adam does have some pretty reasonable bones to pick with his half-brothers, if he's still sane enough to understand what happened to him.
Did Sam and Dean have any good alternative to leaving Adam in the cage as Michael's vessel, even if they'd had the means of springing him free? No. But as somebody with two older brothers of my own, I can safely say that I'd be annoyed that they didn't try a little harder. Being locked in a Hell cage with a vengeful archangel is the same as being boxed in during a game of Monopoly when it comes to brothers, right?
All of this said, entirely possible that Adam will get a happy ending of sorts on Supernatural, even if not everybody will. Jared Padalecki promised a "version of peace" by the end of the series, and it would really only be fair if that peace included a fate for Adam that wasn't a cage with Michael. The Winchesters did come up with the box that could have contained Dean as Michael; if they can free Adam somehow and stick Michael in the box, everything could turn out alright... right?
We can always hope at this point. There is plenty to worry about beyond what's happening with Adam. Sam and Dean did end the Season 15 premiere determined to do everything in their power to keep on saving people and hunting things, even though there are now a few billion malevolent souls they need to deal with. Is this leading to death for the brothers Winchester, as Jared Padalecki has pitched in the past? Possibly. But Jensen Ackles came to terms with the ending despite having trouble with it early on, so surely fans can as well!
The final season of Supernatural continues Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. It's one of two long-running series ending on The CW in the 2019-2020 TV season, but the TV lineup is luckily packed with goodness.