This time, their decision has locked the gates of Heaven and expelled all angels to Earth, and the Winchester that appears to be down for the count this time is Sam (Jared Padalecki). Dean (Jensen Ackles) takes his younger brother to a hospital where he is told that there is no hope. Left with no other choice, Dean prays, at first to Castiel (Misha Collins), but when their guardian angel is a no-show, he makes an open call for any Angel willing to help to show up. Naturally though, being expelled from Heaven means that most Angels aren't too happy with the Winchesters and when they show up, they aren't there to lend a hand. The only one that seems willing to help is an injured angel named Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett, Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica). Unfortunately, the weakened angel explains that he must heal Sam from within via possession because of the extensiveness of Sam's wounds.
While this strange deal gets Sam and Dean out of their immediate problems, they still have a lot of problems ahead of them. They have the King of Hell, Crowley (Mark Sheppard), in their trunk, angels looking to get revenge and oh yeah, big surprise, it turns out Ezekiel isn't exactly who he says he is and is essentially blackmailing Dean not to tell Sam he is even possessed, because if he is forced out of the younger brother's body before Sam can survive on his own, then he will die.
At least with Sam out of the hospital, the Winchesters can head back to the Men of Letters bunker and have a little restful downtime while they help encourage Kevin (Orsic Chau) to translate the Word of God tablets in the hopes of opening up Heaven again. Plus, Crowley as a prisoner means they might get some information out of him, especially since last season's trials mean they got the former cross-roads demon addicted to human blood.
As Dean and Sam learn to deal with their immediate issues, Castiel finds that without his grace, he is essentially human. Unable to teleport, heal or, quite frankly do anything all that spectacular, he starts his own cross-country road trip to try and get to the Men of Letters hideout, only to find that his duped part in Metatron's (Curtis Armstrong) plan means that most angels want a piece of him more than they do the Winchesters.
Needless to say, the goal this season is to find some way to stop Metatron, re-open the gates of Heaven, safely get the angel out of Sam's body and stop an old villain who has made a sudden reappearance. Outside of the main story, Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season has some interesting one-off episodes. In one, we find out why Garth (DJ Qualls) ran out on everyone last season, while another brings back the Ghostfacers as they track down the thinman myth (a parallel to our own slenderman). Another hunt has Dean doing a mind meld with a German Shepherd who is the only witness to several murders, and even a couple that bring back Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes).
A particularly good episode has Charlie (Felicia Day) making another appearance as the Winchesters ask her to look at the old computers running the bunker. During her stay, they accidentally unleash the Wicked Witch of the West and learn that Dorothy's adventures in Oz were true (with some poetic licensing applied). Dorothy herself captured the Wicked Witch and instead of being able to destroy her, sealed the two of them away until an unfortunate accident once again released them. Now the Winchesters and Charlie must work with the legendary hunter in order to stop the Wicked Witch before she returns to Oz to try and take over yet again.
This season also featured an episode called "Bloodlines." This was to be a "back-door pilot" for a spin-off series focused in Chicago, a town apparently run by five major monster families. Dean and Sam come into the town after hearing about an odd case that appears to be right up their alley, only to discover that the town's underground is much more massive than they have ever seen before. Unfortunately, because of the purpose of the episode, the Winchesters actually take a backseat to new characters like the Lassiter and Durant families (shfiters and werewolves, respectively) as well as a Chicago PD cadet named Ennis Ross (Lucien Laviscount). If the show had gotten off the ground, then this would be a good, solid pilot for fans of Supernatural. As it is though, it just feels like an odd one-off episode that doesn't fit the feel of the rest of the series.
Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season contains the normal compliment of gag reel, commentaries and deleted scenes, as well as the 2013 Comic-Con panel, but it also contains two more special features that are both amusing and entertaining. One is a mockumentary that follows Collins on a supposedly average day. The other is a menu system set around the set of the Men of Letters Bunker. Here, you get to hear the set designer talk about what went into coming up with the different parts of the underground base, as well as detailed discussions about what coming up with the Men of Letters meant for the direction the series was able to take. All of the featurettes found in this section of the Blu-ray collection were very interesting and worth watching.
While I still feel like the first five seasons of the show were its best, Season Nine does a great job of building on last season's foundation. It will be interesting to see how the Winchesters will get through their latest cliffhanger. I recommend Season Nine only if you've had a chance to get to see Season Eight. If you have, then you are in for an interesting ride.