10.14 The Executioner's Song

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Title The Executioner's Song
Episode # Season 10, Episode 14
First aired February 17, 2015
Directed by Phil Sgriccia
Written by Robert Berens
On IMDB The Executioner's Song
Outline When Cain suddenly returns and begins killing humans, Dean is forced to finally confront the father of murder.
Monster Cain
Timeline One week after 10.13 Halt & Catch Fire
Location(s) West Livingston, Texas (Polunsky Unit)
Bogg's Marsh, Illinois
Fall River, Massachusetts
Lebanon, Kansas
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At a prison in Texas, Tommy Tolliver, a death row inmate, taunts the guard. Later, the lights dim and Cain walks down the hallway. He appears in Tommy's cell where he stabs him, and disappears with Tommy's body.

On the way to the prison to investigate the disappearance of Tommy, Dean teases Sam about his serial killer obsession while they discuss the case. Once in the prison, they question the warden and, while reviewing the security cameras, Dean recognizes Cain. Sam notices that the Mark is reacting as well.

In Illinois, Castiel interrogates a demon about Cain's whereabouts. Once he gets the information he wants, Cas kills the demon and follows up on the lead. At the same time, Sam discover that Tommy's father has also disappeared. When Cas calls them, he confirms that Tommy is dead and that Cain has been busy killing people. A disturbance causes Cas to hang up on Dean and Sam—Cain has arrived. He confirms that he is killing his descendants to rid the world of his bloodline, the members of which make up 10% of the entire population at most. Cas meets Sam and Dean at the bunker and fills them in on Cain. Now that they know Cain is killing his descendants, they believe he will go after another Tolliver, Tommy's 12-year-old son, Austin, who lives in Ohio. Dean believes that the time's come for him to kill Cain, explaining to Sam and Castiel that after he killed Abaddon, Cain told him to find him and kill him for whatever happens next. Dean blames himself for the people that Cain has been killing since he pushed the retired Knight of Hell into giving him the Mark and letting him give into its influence once more. Despite Sam's concern for Dean, they decide to go to Ohio to pursue the father of murder, knowing that the one and only thing that can kill him is the First Blade.

Meanwhile, Crowley listens to a crossroads demon complain about not being given his credit for collecting souls, Rowena goads and manipulates Crowley into killing the demon for whining. Crowley knows his mother is manipulating him, but he agrees to help her with a witch, Olivette, from the Grand Coven. However, Dean calls and Crowley gets distracted. Dean tells Crowley that Cain is back and has Crowley on his list of people to kill. Dean wants Crowley to bring the First Blade to him so they can kill him, to which he agrees. As Crowley is about to leave, Rowena begins chastising him, telling him she thinks it is a bad idea to help the Winchesters.

When the Winchesters and Castiel arrive in Ohio, Dean and Cas want to use Austin as bait but Sam has concerns. Crowley arrives and Dean makes it clear that Crowley is not part of the team. However, Crowley has a plan and he won't hand over the Blade unless Cain is trapped. Sam is worried about will happen once Cain is trapped and what Dean will do. Dean reiterates his words from last week about going down swinging, but he didn't think it would be this soon. He admits to Sam that he is scared.

As Austin leaves the barn, Cain arrives. Cas steps in and tells the kid to run, he goes into the barn where Sam is waiting. Cain easily forces Cas out of the way and then appears in the barn. He stabs Austin only to discover that the kid isn't real—with Crowley's help, they have set up an illusion spell and the real Austin is long gone. They have also trapped Cain in a large devil's trap hidden under the straw on the barn floor.

Dean insists it is his turn. Sam and Cas want to help, but Dean thinks they will be a liability in the fight with Cain as Dean will be worried about them. Besides, Sam, Cas, and Crowley have to be there to take out whatever comes out—whether it be Cain or a demonic Dean. Crowley hands over the First Blade while demanding a promise that Dean will give it back. Dean reassures Sam that he's good before going to fight Cain.

In their confrontation, Dean believes it is too late to save Cain, and Cain agrees. When he killed Abel, he released a stain on the earth, and extinguishing his descendants is the least he owes the world. Dean approaches Cain with the First Blade, but Cain easily rebuffs Dean's advances. He knows that Dean is holding back because Dean believes he can control the darkness if he doesn't let it all out. Cain knocks Dean down and then tells Dean that there is no beating the Mark. He reveals to Dean that he played Cas in order for him to get Dean to bring the First Blade to the fight and he easily takes it from Dean. Cain says that he is doing Dean a favor by killing him because Dean is living Cain's life in reverse—Cain started down the path by killing his brother and Dean's story will end when Dean kills Sam. Dean denies it, but Cain continues by saying that Dean will kill Crowley first—which be conflicting for him—then Castiel, which will be difficult, but killing Sam will be the act that Dean will not survive. As Cain brings down the First Blade towards Dean, Dean grabs the knife from Cain's belt and cuts off Cain's hand. Dean grabs the First Blade; he begs Cain to tell him that he doesn't have to kill him, that he can stop, but Cain confirms that he will never stop. Dean raises the First Blade and brings it down with a wet thump and a clap of thunder, finally killing Cain.

When Dean returns, Crowley demands the Blade, but Dean hands it to Castiel instead. Dean tells Crowley that he lied to him twice today, Crowley was never on Cain's list and Dean will not give Crowley the Blade. Crowley then disappears, as Dean collapses into Sam's arms and Sam comforts his brother. Crowley returns to his headquarters to find his mother with bags packed. Crowley doesn't want to hear any “I told you so”s from Rowena, but Rowena tells him she is disappointed at what Crowley has become. She was proud that he was the King of Hell, but now he is the Winchester's bitch.

Back at the bunker, Sam reassures Dean that since he killed Cain without losing himself, there is hope. Dean half-heartedly agrees. When Cas arrives and confirms that he has hidden the First Blade somewhere safe, Dean excuses himself and, after he leaves, Cas asks Sam about Dean's mental state. A worried Sam responds that Dean is in trouble.




  • "Diamond Side Down" by Jamie Dunlap, Ryan Franks and Scott Nickoley (MasterSource)
(playing as Austin leaves the barn and runs into Cain)


Cain: Hello Castiel.

Castiel: What have you done?

Cain: These bodies? Just cleaning up a mess I made a long time ago.
Castiel: This is a massacre.

Cain: Yes. And soon it will be a genocide. My children, my whole poisoned issue. Lot of them out there right now -- killers, fighters, thieves. Some more peaceful than others, but they still carry it -- the disease. If the Mark wants blood, I'll give it mine.
Castiel: You'll kill them all? You are Adam and Eve's first born, your descendants are legion.
Cain: At most I'm culling... one in ten.
Castiel: Of everyone?

Cain: I've got time.
Crowley: Well done Mother. Next time you run a long con, let more than a few hours of suspicious, entirely uncharacteristic usefulness pass before making your ask.

Rowena: You think I have an ulterior motive, that I've been manipulating you?
Crowley: You couldn't be more transparent.

Rowena: Well duh, of course I was manipulating you. I am your Mother after all. Manipulations who we are; my wee sausage. What matter is it that I had a motive, we had fun today, didn't we?
Sam: Where're you going?

Dean: We know where Cain's gonna be. The kid's in danger.
Sam: Okay, so what, we track him down to Ohio and then what?

Dean: Then I'll do what I have to do. I'll kill Cain.
Dean: You know last week when I said I would go down swinging when the time came? I meant that, I was at peace with that -- I just didn't realize that the time would come so soon. Like right now... I'm scared Sam.
Crowley: What guarantee do I have that you'll give it back when you're done?
Dean: I survive and I come out there and don't give it back, you'll all have a much bigger problem on your hands.
Dean: I'll spare us the formalities. You're past talking down, Cain you're full mental.

Cain: Oh I prefer to think I've finally gotten clear. When I made my bargain with Lucifer -- killed Abel. I released a stain upon the earth, a stain deeper and far more lasting than precedence.
Dean: You're bloodline is tainted, so you say.

Cain: So I know. Not all killers are my descendants, and not all my descendants are killers, but enough are. Enough for me to know that extinguishing them is the least I owe this world. Can you honestly tell me that humanity not better off with a fewer Tommys, a fewer Leons, a fewer yous?
Cain: You're holding back! What is it Dean? You think if you hold back just enough you won't succumb? That you'll leave this fight the same as you entered? Look to my example, boy! There is no resisting the Mark or the Blade, there is only remission and relapse!
Cain: It's been too long. That old feeling, makes wonder how I ever had the strength to resist. This may be hard to believe, in light of what I'm about to do to you, but I care about you, Dean. I truly do, but I know I'm doing you a favor. I'm saving you.

Dean: Saving me from what?
Cain: From your fate. Has it ever occurred to you? Have you never mused upon the fact that you are living my life in reverse. My story began when I killed my brother, and that's where your story will inevitably end.
Dean: No. Never.
Cain: It's called the Mark of Cain for a reason! First, first you'd kill Crowley -- there'd be some strange mixed feelings on that one, but you'd have your reason, get it done, no remorse. And then you'd kill the angel Castiel, now that one, that I suspect would hurt something awful. And then! Then would come the murder you'd never survive, the one that would finally turn you into as a much of a savage as it did me...
Dean: No.

Cain: Your brother, Sam. The only thing standing between you and that destiny is this Blade. You're welcome my son.
Castiel: How is he? Sam?
Sam: Cas... Dean's in trouble.

Trivia & References

"The Executioner's Song" is a reference to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Norman Mailer which documented the events surrounding the execution by the State of Utah of murderer Gary Gilmore. Norman Mailer also wrote a poem of the same name.
Sam and Dean's aliases "Moore and Ranaldo" are references to Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth.
Rowena: This demon asks you to equalize credit for his and another's work -- split the baby, if you will. Well, then I would well and truly split the baby. I'd cut this puling, pathetic, greed-grubbing git in two, literally, then I'd nail his bloody halves to the doors of the court -- a reminder to all not to waste the king's time. Whiners beget whiners. You can't reward behavior like that -- why I never gave in when you asked for sweeties as a child, no matter how much you cried. Well, you were a very... chunky child, darling. Bit of a bloater.
"Split the baby" is a reference to the Judgement of Solomon from the Hebrew Bible.
The climactic scene between Cain and Dean is reminiscent of the scene between Darth and Luke in the Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back, where Darth points out the similarities between him and Luke, and says that Luke is headed to the dark side, as Cain says to Dean. There is also the loss of a hand. Watch the Star Wars scene here.


While talking about Sam's hobby of "collecting serial killer stats," Dean says that real hobbies are "bass fishing and needle point." Later Rowena is seen doing needle point.
When Sam and Dean enter the prison, the voice at the gate belongs to Director and Executive Producer Phil Sgriccia.
Keith Martin Gordey, who played Warden Skieff, previously played Sarah Blake's father Daniel Blake in 1.19 Provenance.
On the wall in the schoolroom where Cas is interrogating the demon is a photo of Matt Riley as a tribute. Matt, who was Jared's stand-in for many years, died at the beginning of 2015.
Soon after the episode, the parody account @cainshand appeared on Twitter.
Deleted scenes: The deleted scenes included on the Season 10 DVD and Blu-ray for this episode were:
  • A scene where Crowley and Rowena are listening to a demon giving a sales pitch on how to increase deal numbers. Crowley complains about the demon's lack of style and Rowena complains about modern-day witches/wiccans. Read the transcript here.
  • In the barn before Dean's fight with Cain, Crowley teases Castiel about his waning grace. Castiel insists that he's fine. Crowley goes on to mock Castiel's desperation to save his 'boyfriend' Dean. Castiel retorts that since Crowley dropped everything to bring Dean the blade, maybe Dean is his boyfriend. Crowley comments that Dean isn't his type. Read the transcript here.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts