The characterization has been all over the map the past few seasons. It's not just Crowley. Even this season brings up such gems as Dean telling Sam a few episodes back that he wants to sacrifice himself so Sam can live out a long domestic life with a wife and picket fence. Forgetting that for most of this season Dean was telling Sam to ditch the girl he was quite happy with and get with the hunting and their destined fates. I'm surprised the show didn't point out the idiocy of that by having Sam say "What? You have been on me for weeks to get back into the game! You couldn't have mentioned this a week ago, before I drove all that way to permanently break up with my girlfriend? F you Dean!"
It's taken me a while to catch up as most of the season became quite a slog to get through and I didn't relish watching more. It took a while but the show made some good steps to make it entertaining again. When they finally closed the aforementioned tiresome argument arc between Dean and Sam things picked up. Especially when the writers finished rewatching the box set of Angel and decided to introduce the Watcher's Council of Letters and the Hyperion Hotel Home Base.
The LARP episode was fun and had some entertaining moments.
Time travel episode was good. And that new mythology has given the show some new directions to move in.
The golem was a pretty neat new character and I was really hoping he was going to join Winchester Investigations permanently. Also had one of my favorite moments in which the Jewish guy watched them bury and burn a body and say "These guys are psychopaths"
as the camera cut back to Sam warming his hands over the flames.
The trials of the Hell Hound was forgettable. Which was disappointing. If all the trials are as mediocre as that it's not going to help that arc.
The witches episode was probably one of the worst I've seen in recent memory. The interpretation of the familiar in Supernatural lore was just ridiculous and poorly executed. It felt like a cost-cutting excuse so they could save time with an animal handler (they didn't even bother with transformation effects) and a punchline for Dean.
The Titans are apparently quite lame in Supernatural. Their only power appears to be not having any. It was an interesting enough story but they should have left the Gods out of it. Or at least kept Zeus out of it, because he went down far too easily as well. Even if he comes back.
This week brought back Cas and to be honest I was hoping he would kill himself and Meg would survive. At least the weak Naomi brainwashing arc is over but Cas is another character the show doesn't really know how to handle now. He's dead. He's alive. He's crazy. He's a hunter. He's human. He's leader of Heaven. He's rogue. He's not.
This season is suffering the fate of too many arcs again. Just pick two and go with those. Rebuilding the Letters group and closing Hell without trials would be enough. Fill the rest with fun cases for Winchester Investigations. And maybe bring on a permanent new cast member that isn't Cas instead of killing them just as they have potential.