Supernatural is one of the best, longest-tenured horror shows ever. It’s a story of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who battle all kinds of supernatural entities, from folklore creatures like the wendigo to ghosts, vampires, and demons. Crowley is one of the main demons in the show, who’s sometimes an ally to the brothers. But when does he show up in Supernatural?
Crowley first appeared in Season 5’s episode ‘Abandon All Hope’ when the Winchesters track him down and confront him about stealing their Colt – a weapon capable of killing demons. However, they soon realize they share a common goal, so they inadvertently team up to stop Lucifer, aka the Devil.
Now, Crowley’s role in the show is pretty consistent – he’s an unreliable ally to Sam and Dean, who only helps them if it aligns with his own interests. Crowley jumps back and forth between being an antagonist/villain and an anti-hero until the end of his demonic life. Let’s explore the life and death(s) of Crowley, the demon in Supernatural.
Who is Crowley?
Crowley is a red-eyed demon from the show Supernatural, portrayed mainly by Mark Sheppard when Crowley possesses his usual human body. In a few episodes, he switches bodies, which is when he’s portrayed by Lauren Tom (when possessing Linda Tran), Marco Soriano (when possessing Andre Devlin), and Kirsten Robek (when possessing Marnie).
You might’ve noticed I’ve written ‘life and death(s)’ in the introduction. That’s because Crowley died multiple times. In fact, the first time he died happened centuries before our story with the Winchester brothers took place.
Crowley was a human named Fergus Roderick MacLeod who lived from 1661-1723. He wasn’t a good man, so MacLeod ended up in Hell after his death, where Lucifer turned him into a red-eyed demon. There are several types of demons in Hell, but red-eye demons are among the most powerful.
That’s when he got the name Crowley and became the King of the Crossroads, a demon you can summon at a crossroad to strike a deal with him in return for your soul. However, after Crowley helped the Winchester brothers imprison Lucifer in his cage once again, Crowley appointed himself as the King of Hell.
Little did Crowley know that Lucifer would find a way out, and when he did, literally all Hell broke loose. Instead of killing Crowley for his betrayal, Lucifer made him a slave, which lasted long before the demon escaped.
Long story short, he was eventually reinstated to his position as the King of Hell, but as he grew tired of the job and Lucifer’s constant attempts to return, Crowley sacrificed himself to trap Lucifer in an alternate reality.
Despite being a demon and causing many problems for the Winchesters, Crowley died as a hero and remained one of the most beloved characters in Supernatural in the eyes of the fan base.
Throughout his history as a character, Crowley jumped between being an anti-hero and an antagonist in basically every season he appeared in. However, even as an anti-hero, Crowley was always cunning and self-centered, working only for his own gain.
Even after helping Sam and Dean, Crowley usually sets them up for some deadly scheme that they barely come out of alive. He’s intelligent, powerful, sarcastic, and ridiculously snarky.
When did Crowley show up in Supernatural?
Crowley was referenced a couple of times in Season 3 of the show, but only as the demon who stole the Colt from Bela Talbot. However, the Winchesters thought the demon Lilith stole the Colt – they had no idea who Crowley was.
Sam and Dean learn that Crowley, not Lilith, was behind the theft in Season 5’s episode, The Real Ghostbusters, and the very next episode, Abandon All Hope, is the first time we actually see Crowley the demon appear in the show.
Sam and Dean tracked Crowley down to confront him and get the Colt back, but his guards captured them with little effort. However, instead of killing the Winchesters, Crowley uses the Colt to shoot his guards, letting Sam and Dean know they have the same goal – killing Lucifer.
Sam and Dean, naturally, don’t trust Crowley, but he explains that he believes Lucifer plans to kill all demons once he kills all humans first. He gives them the Colt back and informs them of Lucifer’s location. That was the first episode Crowley showed up in.
In the following episodes, Sam and Dean find Lucifer, but the Colt fails to kill him, so Crowley is forced to run into hiding to save his life from Lucifer. Once the brothers figured out they could use the rings of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse to trap Lucifer in his cage again, Crowley reemerged to help out in collecting the rings.
His story continued in Season 6 as the King of Hell, and an antagonist for the season, while in Season 7, he was the anti-hero again. Crowley jumped back and forth before the final act that established him as more of a hero than a villain – at least in the eyes of the fans.
How did Crowley die in Supernatural?
Crowley died literally two times, but he seemingly died one more time when Castiel kills him in Season 6 after they realize he was lying about being able to retrieve Sam’s soul from Hell. In reality, Castiel and Crowley secretly worked together to try and find a way to open Purgatory and claim all its souls and all its powers to have the firepower to battle the forces of Hell.
Now, for the real deaths.
In Season 6’s Weekend episode at Bobby’s, we get more of Crowley’s backstory. He was a 17th-century Scotsman named Fergus MacLeod, who had a mother, Rowena, and a son Gavin. The father and son hated each other, blaming one another for the mother’s death.
We never explicitly learn how Fergus MacLeod died to become Crowley, the demon – all we knew was that he was a bum, a heavy drinker, and not a good man at all.
However, there’s a deleted scene for a Season 12 episode called Family Feud (which can be found on the Season 12 box set), where Gavin, Crowley’s son, tells Rowena (his grandmother) that Fergus drank himself to death as a human. He died drunk and alone.
As for his demonic death, Crowley had ruled as King of Hell for a while and eventually grew tired of constantly having to watch over his back, trying to fend off incoming attacks trying to usurp the throne. And, once again, Lucifer was back.
In Season 12’s episode, All Along the Watchtower, he seemingly killed Crowley, but the cunning demon survived by possessing a rat. He takes his usual vessel and offers Hell, promising to be the one to seal the Gates of Hell in the end.
In the meantime, they realize the powers of Nephilim have opened a rift to an alternate reality where the world has ended, so they decide to trap Lucifer in that alternate reality once and for all. However, the Rift Sealing Ritual could be completed only by sacrificing a life.
Crowley stays true to his word as he says his goodbyes to Sam and Dean, takes an angel blade, and kills himself to complete the ritual. Before being sealed in an alternate reality, however, Lucifer managed to kill Castiel, as well.