'Supernatural' sneak peek: Sam's last case before the breakdown

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spn-316-jared-jensen-girl-attack.jpgIn the last "Supernatural" episode we saw, Sam had finally lost control of his ability to stave off his Lucifer hallucinations. After letting Lucifer a little too far into his mind, he was no longer able to discern what was real and what was a figment of his imagination. In the final moments, we saw him experiencing a hellish nightmare while still awake -- all while keeping it hidden from his brother.

In next week's episode, the show returns from hiatus to find Sam hanging by a thread. Like when he didn't have a soul, he's not sleeping at all, but while Dean is catching zzzzs, Sam is enduring horrific memories of his time in hell. As Jared Padalecki told us in a recent interview, with Sam's soul intact, all the symptoms of sleep deprivation catch up to him - headaches, confusion, depression, memory loss, and yes... more hallucinations.

He's trying to manage those effects while he and Dean work a case involving cursed objects. Specifically, a pair of ballet shoes worn by a young ballerina, Tracy (Taya Clyne). The shoes apparently force their wearer to dance themselves to death (how very "Buffy" of them!) so when Dean accidentally touches them, it's bad news. Let's just hope we get to see Jensen Ackles as a ballerina.

This is the last case Sam and Dean manage to work before Dean finally has to put Sam in an institution for his own safety. In the March 23 episode, we'll see Dean get desperate. A search through Bobby's contacts leads him to a faith healer with a magic touch and mind-reading abilities... and a very familiar face. Yes, SPN fans, just one more episode until the return of Castiel.

"First, Dean's just gobsmacked. It even says 'jaw to the floor,' I think, when he sees him. I think there's a lot of mixed emotions about it. He's probably elated to have his friend back, and somebody who he knows that he can count on, even though he doesn't know who he is -- meaning Cas doesn't know that he's Cas," Ackles told us.

We were on set with Ackles and Padalecki while they filmed this episode (Sam gets to wield a sword!), so keep an eye out for more video from our set visit next week. In the meantime, check out pics from the episode below, and remember to tune in on March 16 at 9 p.m. EST.

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Photo/Video credit: The CW