Supernatural’ season 9 summons its second episode of the year in “Devil May Care,” as Sam and Dean team with fellow hunters to battle a reformed Abaddon (Alaina Huffman) recruiting demons to her cause, while Kevin Tran locks wits with Crowley back at the base.

Last week's ‘Supernatural’ premiere “I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here” saw Dean desperately partnering with wounded angel Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett) to save a dying Sam, while Castiel set about helping fellow fallen angels, and learning the limits of his newfound humanity, so what does the second season 9 episode bring?  What new challenges will the Winchesters face in the coming year?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 2, “Devil May Care!”

Dean reveals to Sam that he kept Crowley in his trunk to gain information, afterward returning to the Men of Letters base and finding a still-rattled Kevin Tran. Sam and Dean chain up the deposed Hell king to demand the identity of every demon on Earth, though when Crowley predictably refuses, the boys opt to torture their captive by leaving him alone with his new-found conscience. Elsewhere, a possessed man drags the burned body of Abaddon into in abandoned home, performing a ritual to restore the flesh, and allow the disembodied Hell Knight to reenter her former vessel

Abaddon meets with an assembled group of demons to recruit them in taking over Hell from Crowley, subsequently the Earth, though the demons express doubt that Crowley has truly been killed. While Sam and Dean spread the word to other hunters about the fallen angels, Abaddon and her demons drive by a military base, swapping out their vessels for the more able-bodied soldiers.

Out on the road, an attractive young female hunter named Tracy flags down a passing driver, only to expose him as a vampire and slay him in the back of the van. Upon exiting however, Abaddon’s soldiers promptly kidnap the girl. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean visit the site of the bus possessions, phoning Kevin to get past the military jurisdiction, only to learn from security footage that Abaddon somehow survived her fiery end. Later, Abaddon and her soldiers torture another hunter for one of Sam and Dean’s phone numbers, calling Kevin to reveal they’ve got Tracy and their hunter friend Irv held hostage.

Kevin interrupts Crowley’s alone-time to search for information on killing Knights of Hell, but Crowley turns the situation to his advantage by goading Kevin into confronting him. Crowley claims that Kevin couldn’t know for sure his mother was dead, promising her location in exchange for his release, and urging the boy to take out his anger with the weapons nearby. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean arrive at an abandoned diner to rescue Tracy and Franklin, but quickly see the soldier demons bearing down on them with assault rifles.

The four manage to slip out of the diner, though Tracy refuses to work with Sam, given that her family died from a torturous demon celebrating Sam’s release of Lucifer years earlier. Elsewhere, Crowley continues working Kevin over, assuring him the Winchesters will discard him once he’s outlived his usefulness as a prophet, and suggesting they flee the base together.

Irv begins to apologize to Sam for allowing Abaddon to extract information on the other hunters from him, but is quickly struck down by a sniper bullet. Dean and Tracy manage to get the drop on Abaddon, but exhaust their bullets on her Kevlar vest, while the remaining soldiers quickly overpower Sam in the diner. Abaddon offers to end Dean’s life quickly in exchange for Crowley, threatening to possess him and commit awful acts should he refuse. Meanwhile inside the diner, the demons prepare to deliver Sam the killing blow, before Ezekiel takes control of the body and promptly obliterates the threat.

As Abaddon flees, Dean finds the other demons dead with Ezekiel still in control of Sam, though he insists Sam will remember none of it, and that Dean continues to make the right choice in allowing him to save his brother’s life. Sam awakens a short while later, as Dean takes credit for the three vanquished demons, and Tracy pulls the car around to leave the abandoned town behind.

Sam and Dean return to the base to find Kevin missing, though Crowley remains where they left him, albeit a little worse for wear. Crowley offers up the names of two demons they can dispatch for him, hoping to start a quid pro quo relationship, as Dean finds Kevin packing up to leave. Dean assures the boy that he wouldn’t like the condition he finds his mother in, even if she were alive, and that staying on the base with his new-found family remains the best option, as they’d gladly die for him.

Afterward, Dean urges Sam to disregard Tracy’s earlier words about Lucifer, while Sam admits to feeling better about his life than in years, something that gives Dean a touch of concern.

We might have thought it wise to air "Devil May Care" as the second half of last week's premiere, given how much of "Like It Here" ended up devoted to refreshing the status quo, without any actual forward plot movement. Now, we have some sense of where the road ahead will take Dean and Sam in hunting down Crowley's demons with Abaddon similarly rallying forces on the others side.

And while "Devil May Care" certainly threw a few clunkers our way, most notably the stock hunters who either live to be treated as cannon fodder or a future love interest (both, if she ends up with Sam), the hour ended up with some pretty strong moments to add for the plus column of the season to date. Much as we miss Tahmoh Penikett in the role, Ezekiel's return provided an impressive and unexpected resolution to the demon fight, with Jared Padalecki displaying a stronger handle on the otherworldly character than the somewhat stiff rendition last week.

Equally strong was Dean's moment with Kevin Tran at the end, which felt very much like a return to relevance for the series in its later years, and a strong sense of surrogate family bonding that very much mirrors Dean's relationship with his own father. The jury's still out on how long Kevin Tran will last, or on his mother's true fate for that matter, but the sense of good tidings felt every bit as palpable as Sam's closing words made them out to be.

Next week should return Castiel to the fold perhaps giving us a sense of his relationship with Ezekiel, or game plan for dealing with Abaddon, so we'll credit "Devil May Care" as an effective building block for a solid season thus far.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of spooky ‘Supernatural’ action?  What did you think about tonight’s “Devil May Care?” Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next week for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 3 “I'm No Angel” on The CW!