'Supernatural': 10 questions that have us hunting for answers

spn-dean-sam-good-evil-320.jpgTelevision writers of the world, if you have any doubts about how to keep your viewers interested over the holiday hiatus, please watch " Supernatural's" mid-season finale, "Appointment in Samarra."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a cliffhanger. We were left breathless - and nobody on screen even had his shirt off.

In the last moments of the episode, as Sam ( Jared Padalecki) plead with his brother to let him go, Dean ( Jensen Ackles) watched Death return Sam's soul to his body. Sounds like a good thing, but when a soul has been "hate-banged" by Lucifer himself, it's not exactly the safest bet.

We're glad to have reached this climax in the saga of Sam's soul -- we missed him, okay? -- but while we've got one answer, we've got a whole lot of questions.  Here are the top 10 things we're looking forward to finding out in the second half of Season 6 after "Supernatural" returns on Friday Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. after a new episode of "Smallville."

Did Dean make the right call?
According to "Supernatural" mythology, having a soul is what gives us compassion, instinct, and emotion. It's also what makes us feel pain. After over a year in a cage with Lucifer and Michael, Sam's got a whole lot of pain held up behind a flimsy wall in his mind. Would he have been better off without it after all?

What will Sam remember?
Just because Sam won't be plagued by his time in hell doesn't necessarily mean he won't remember it. Will he remember the year he spent hunting with his grandfather and all the innocent people killed for the sake of the hunt? Will he remember watching, unflinching, as Dean was turned into a vampire?

Which version of Sam is going to walk out of the panic room? When we first met Sam Winchester in 2005, he was the perfect contrast to his shoot-first-ask-questions-later older brother. As he developed over the subsequent seasons, he threw himself into the job, growing stronger as the demons tried to break him. When Sam gets his soul back, complete with a drywall dividing him from the agony of hell, is he going to be the same guy who jumped into the hole in the Season 5 finale?

Are we still looking for Purgatory? With Crowley dead (moment of silence for the most awesome demon ever, please) are the Winchesters still going to try to find out what was so special about Purgatory? We're not really buying his explanation that it was just a real estate investment.

Speaking of Crowley's death, who is the new King of Hell? Even Demons need some governing, right? So now that Lucifer is locked up, and Azazel, Lilith and Crowley are dead, who is next in line for the position of Big Bad? We'd like to nominate Meg for the position. She's been escaping the Winchesters for six seasons now. Even Lucifer can't boast that. Besides, it sounds to us like Hell could use a little feminine touch.

What's up with the Alphas? From what we've learned this season, we assume that every species of monster has an Alpha who passes orders down to the underlings with creepy psychic dream-visions. As the Alpha vampire told the Winchesters, Alphas are the first of their species - sort of. "Well, we all have our mothers, even me," he said. Monsters have been breaking their patterns post-apocalypse, recruiting and breeding more monsters. What, exactly, are these creepers gearing up for?

What's going to happen to Adam? Unsurprisingly, given the choice to save Sam or their half-brother Adam from Lucifer's cage, Dean chose Sam -- who has been his priority, unfailingly, throughout their lives. Now that Sam presumably is all souled-up, what happens to Adam in the cage? Do the Winchesters try to break him out, or count him among the many casualties of war?

Without Crowley around, what's Samuel up to? Dean swore he'd kill his grandfather in "Caged Heat," and though he sounded very convincing at the time, we're pretty sure he won't actually go there. Still, we never saw what happened to Samuel after he helped Crowley toss Sam and Dean into the messy prison cells. Samuel seems willing to do anything to raise Mary from the dead (clearly, Sam and Dean come by it honestly). What's his next move? We're sort of hoping his next move takes him far, far away. We don't like this dude.

What does civil war in Heaven mean for Castiel and the Winchesters? We keep hoping things will get bad enough in Heaven for Castiel to ditch the wings and become Sam and Dean's full-time third wheel, but he keeps on fighting the good fight even as his angel friends and brothers bail on him. Human Castiel in Season 5's "The End" was a riot. We wouldn't mind seeing just a little of that crazy dude again.

Will we ever see Lisa again? The Winchesters have had dalliances with lots of women on their lifetime-long road trip, but Lisa is by far our favorite. She didn't take crap from anyone, understood the gravity of Dean's situation, and read his messed-up, unhealthy relationship with Sam like a book. Plus... we think Dean deserves a little happiness. She was firm in her conviction that she and Ben couldn't be involved in Dean's crazy life, and we thinks he was probably right about that... but we still miss her.

Bonus: Where is Dean's amulet? Yeah, we're still stuck on that necklace. So sue us.

"Supernatural" fans, chime in below in the comments section to let us know your burning questions. The first half of Season 6 left us reeling -- here's hoping that part two is just as awesome come Jan. 28. In the meantime, ease your withdrawal symptoms with these hot new pics of our three favorite evil-fighting men.
Photo/Video credit: CW