Supernatural’ season 9 summons its first episode of the year in premiere “I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here,” as Dean desperately partners with wounded angel Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett) to save a dying Sam, while Castiel sets about helping fellow fallen angels, and learning the limits of his newfound humanity.

Previous ‘Supernatural’ finale “Sacrifice” saw Sam and Dean seeking to cure Crowley as the final trial to close the gates of Hell, while Castiel discovered that Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) had an endgame all his own, so what does the first 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 premiere, “I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here!”

Out on the road, Sam wonders incredulously why anyone would buy the angels falling as a meteor shower, before Dean reveals they have a larger problem: Sam actually fell into a coma from his injuries in the trials, and they’re currently inside his head. Meanwhile in the real world, Dean learns from a doctor that Sam likely won’t recover, and prays to Castiel for help. When that fails, Dean invites any angel to come assist, offering his help in exchange, as we see several across the country hearing the call.

Inside Sam’s head, Sam struggles to process how to fight his way out of the coma, whether to listen to his hallucination of Dean, or Bobby as the path to freedom. While the trio argues, Castiel wanders down a road in the real world, hearing the faint voice of angels before jumping out of the path of a truck. Seeing that he’s human and bleeding, Castiel accepts the man’s offer for a ride into town. Castiel arrives to a gas station, nearly getting into an altercation with a biker before a young female angel named Hale recognizes him.

Dean mistakes the hospital’s grief counselor for an angel, before realizing that the still-in-his-trunk Crowley might be able to help Sam. Before he can open the trunk however, Dean finds himself accosted by an angel who demands Castiel’s location, until another wounded angel (Penikett) arrives to intervene. Dean manages to impale the aggressor angel in the scuffle, before the other passes out from his injuries in the fall. Dean traps the angel in holy fire until he awakens, identifies himself as Ezekiel, and swears his belief in Dean and Castiel’s cause, ultimately offering to save Sam.

Castiel consoles Hale that life on Earth might not be so bad, leading Hale to propose they start by visiting the Grand Canyon she once created. Meanwhile inside Sam’s head, Sam elects to listen to the Bobby side of his conscious mind, and walks through a lush forest. Bobby reminds Sam that he saved the world on multiple occasions, and should feel entitled to leave things behind once and for all. Meanwhile in reality, Ezekiel begins the healing process as Castiel finally calls Dean to check in. Castiel confirms that Ezekiel can be trusted, but Dean warns Castiel not to place his trust in any fellow angels that might want to harm him. After hanging up, Castiel is surprised by Hale knocking him out with a plank, while Dean begins angel-proofing the hospital room against impending reinforcements.

While Dean begins evacuating the hospital, Castiel awakens on the road to find Hale driving with an angel blade in her lap. Hale quickly blames him for the angels falling, expressing her intent to merge with Castiel’s stronger vessel before her current body deteriorates. Meanwhile in Sam’s mind, Bobby directs him to a cabin that will end his suffering, before a vision of Dean stabs Bobby, and begins attacking Sam to get him to fight back. Sam insists he has nothing left to fight for, dissipating the vision of Dean before entering the cabin to find Death waiting for him.

Dean finds himself badly beaten by the attacking angels, before a moment of inspiration allows him to draw an angel-banishing sigil, regardless of where beside Heaven it might take them. Inside the hospital room, Ezekiel reveals that his healing efforts have failed to save Sam, though Dean may not like the possible last-ditch effort of Ezekiel possessing Sam’s body. Dean wonders if Sam would even accept such a solution, to which Ezekiel shows Dean a vision of Sam ready to accept Death’s offer. Elsewhere, Castiel buckles his seatbelt and swerves Hale’s car off the road.

Ezekiel insists to Dean that his possessing Sam would heal both of them, after which he’d promise to leave the body. Acting as a bridge, Ezekiel allows the real Dean to enter Sam’s mind and plead for his brother not to accept Death’s offer, and Sam ultimately agrees, unaware what his “yes” means for Ezekiel. Meanwhile, Castiel awakens from the crash to find Hale’s mangled body outside the car. Hale insists she can ultimately protect Castiel from the other angels who want him dead for his actions in expelling the others from heaven, but Castiel kills her to stay quiet.

In the aftermath of all the chaos, the doctors find Ezekiel’s disoriented vessel alone in the hospital room, while Sam/Ezekiel and Dean make a stealthy getaway. Ezekiel assures Dean that he can slowly heal Sam so long as Sam never finds out about the angel sharing his body, for fear of rejecting it. Ezekiel even offers to wipe Sam’s memory of the entire experience for safety, to which Dean reluctantly agrees. Elsewhere, Castiel enters a laundromat and goes to clean his bloody clothes, but the sight of a vending machine leads him to borrow someone else’s clothing and pay to nourish himself, leaving the iconic trenchcoat behind.

Sam awakens out on the road with Dean, apparently without any memory of the day after the angels fell, and eager to get to work in fixing the mess they’ve made.

So, we're back! The angels have fallen, acclimated rather quickly to their new surroundings (save for some understandable anger with Castiel and the Winchester brothers), and Sam and Dean have found themselves out on the road again. Mind you, "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" doesn't actually accomplish very much out of the gate, save to show us Castiel's new role in the story going forward, while Dean took a reluctant bargain with the mysterious Ezekiel to save his brother's life. Saving Sam didn't exactly answer any burning questions from the finale, considering Sam's ultimate predicament hadn't quite been established, though at least we have a sense of where the tension between the boys will arrive from this year.

So, what else, really? Crowley remained offscreen in Dean's trunk, Abaddon hasn't returned just yet, and we have little idea of the angels' ultimate agenda, let alone how the world might have potentially been impacted by their arrival. Tonight's premiere doesn't offer very much in the way of plot progression, but does have a rather nice set piece in Dean's battle against the angels, and the always-welcome Jim Beaver's return as Bobby, though we should hope to see the real deal at some point, perhaps telling stories to Metatron up in an eerily-abandoned Heaven. Oh, and Death (Julian Richings) was back for a bit, though sadly went without any cronuts from Dean.

Going forward, we'd also hope to see Tahmoh Penikett stick around a bit longer as the enigmatic Ezekiel, though it remains to be seen how we'd see the actual actor anywhere outside of Sam's mind. Penikett fit well into the dynamic between the boys, even if he no doubt has some agenda of his own to fulfill. And that's it, really, some nice (if occasionally cheesy, and arguably repetitive) bonding moments, and a bit of narrative re-positioning, so hopefully next week will be able to cover a bit more ground, or at offer least a bearing for the season to come.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of spooky ‘Supernatural’ action?  What did you think about tonight's premiere "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here?” Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next week for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 2 “Devil May Care” on The CW!