12.23 All Along the Watchtower

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Title All Along the Watchtower
Episode # Season 12, Episode 23
First aired May 18, 2017
Directed by Robert Singer
Written by Andrew Dabb
On IMDB All Along the Watchtower
Outline The Winchesters, Castiel and Crowley take on Lucifer for the fate of Kelly Kline's Nephilim child.
Monster Lucifer
Timeline May 18th, 2017
Location(s) Lebanon, Kansas
North Cove, Washington
Apocalypse World
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Castiel and Kelly Kline are hiding out in a lake house. Kelly is determined put together the nursery for her child by herself, saddened that she will not be able to actually raise him. Castiel comforts her by promising to give his life for her son and to raise him into someone that she would be proud of.

Back at the Bunker, the Winchesters are discussing Lucifer’s reappearance, blaming Crowley. In a flashback, we see that Crowley actually transferred himself into a rat before Lucifer stabbed him, and he is now back in his original meatsuit. The Winchesters decide that they really only need Rowena to lock Lucifer away again, but when they call her Lucifer answers Rowena’s phone and reveals that he killed her and burned the body. He tells the Winchesters that he wants to find his son and is confident that, without Rowena, there is nothing they can do to stop him.

Kelly and Castiel return to the house with a truckload of diapers. Kelly suddenly clutches her stomach in pain, but insists that she is fine and lets Castiel help her back into the house. Unnoticed, a patch of Nephilim energy is left on the truck where Kelly’s hand was. The energy detaches itself from the truck and floats behind the house.

At the Bunker, Dean remarks that Lucifer was right -– they have no way of killing him or even putting him back in the Cage without Rowena. Sam suggests that they buy themselves some time by finding Castiel and Kelly and hiding them from Lucifer. They still hope to be able to siphon off the Nephilim’s grace before it is born. Mary expresses doubt that Castiel will go along with this plan, but Dean assures her they won't give him a choice. Sam reveals that whenever a Nephilim is born, signs such as storms, outbreaks of disease, or plagues of locusts happen in the general vicinity. The Winchesters begin looking for “something weird” in the hopes that it will lead them to Castiel and Kelly's location.

While Kelly is painting the nursery, Castiel steps out behind the house and discovers a rift formed by the Nephilim’s energy. When he touches it, he is transported to a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with red lightning and corpses impaled on huge spikes protruding from the earth. Castiel is knocked over by a horned demon, but is saved by someone with a demon-killing gun. Upon seeing the person’s face, Castiel is confused, only being able to utter “You?” Back at the house, Kelly records a message for her son to see after she dies. She tells him that she loves him and that he will be okay because he will have an angel watching over him. After finishing the message, Kelly has a contraction, and the rift outside seems to pulse.

At the Bunker, the Winchesters are on the lookout for strange events that might signal the birth of the Nephilim. Crowley suddenly appears, only for Dean to immediately punch him in the face. Dean demands to know if he let Lucifer out. Sam tells Dean not to kill him because he might know something about the Cage spell. Crowley, annoyed, says they have Rowena for that, and the Winchesters inform him that Lucifer has killed her. Crowley glibly responds that he thought he would be the one to kill her. After the Winchesters question him further, Crowley admits that he perverted Rowena's spell and saved Lucifer because he “wanted to win,” thinking that having the Devil on a leash would keep others from challenging him as King of Hell. However, Crowley says that during his brief time as a rat, he reflected on his job and realized that he has actually come to hate it. Angry about being stabbed in the back by his demons, Crowley offers to help the Winchesters put Lucifer away and then seal the Gates of Hell for good.

Still experiencing contractions, Kelly searches the house for Castiel. He suddenly reappears, but when Kelly asks him where he has been he tells her, “nowhere.” Kelly tells him that she thinks the baby is coming, and experiences another contraction. All the lights flicker and the rift pulses again. Castiel looks worried, but assures her that everything will be fine.

Back in the Bunker, the Winchesters are still searching for signs of the Nephilim while a bored Crowley drinks and snarks. Sam reports that there’s been a massive power outage in the Pacific Northwest, centered on a house in North Cove, Washington, currently rented to a James Novak. Crowley impatiently exclaims, “It’s about time!” as the Winchesters prepare to leave, but Dean stabs him through the hand with the demon-killing knife, sticking him to the table. He says that they can’t trust Crowley after what he did with Lucifer, so he has to stay behind.

Back at the lake house, Castiel reassures Kelly that she’s all right because the “pressure waves” are still far apart. When Kelly seems confused by the term, Castiel explains that it’s another word for “contractions” that he learned in his online doula class. He looks warily out the window at the rift, which is still floating in mid-air behind the house. Suffering through contractions, Kelly begs Castiel to tell her again about the vision he saw when the Nephilim lent him power. Castiel responds that he saw the future – a paradise without fear or hate that her child will help to create. Castiel hears a car pull up outside the house and goes downstairs to investigate. The Winchesters arrive and ask Castiel if the house has strong enough warding to protect against Lucifer. At first surprised to see them, Castiel is horrified by the news that Lucifer is coming. Dean adds that they can “deal with their crap” later but that their first priority is to move Kelly somewhere Lucifer can’t find her. Castiel tells them that she can’t be moved, and they all hear Kelly crying out in pain upstairs. Mary volunteers to go up and check on her. Dean asks Castiel if he can incinerate Lucifer the same way he did Dagon, but Castiel replies that it was the Nephilim that did it, not him. Dean abruptly clutches his injured leg in pain, and Castiel, touching Dean’s forehead, heals him. Sam and Dean decide to double-check the house’s warding, and before Castiel can stop them, they step outside and see the rift. He explains that the rift is a “tear in space and time” leading to an alternate reality, and that it opened because the Nephilim’s power is puncturing the fabric of the universe. The Winchesters, deciding that they need to see what is on the other side, step through the rift with Castiel.

On the other side of the rift, Castiel tells the Winchesters that this world is actually Earth, but an alternate Earth where angels and demons are locked in eternal battle and humans are caught in the crossfire. When asked how he knows all of this, Castiel cryptically remarks, “a friend told me.” The group is approached by a mysterious figure, and Sam and Dean draw their guns despite Castiel telling them not to. The figure removes his headscarf and reveals himself to be Bobby Singer, much to the Winchesters’ surprise. Bobby doesn’t recognize Sam or Dean, saying that the only Winchester he ever heard of was John Winchester, who has been dead for 40 years. Bobby adds that he only knows about John because of a hunter he knew named Mary Campbell, who was killed by Azazel 10 years ago. Castiel explains that in this world, Sam and Dean were never born and thus were never there to save it.

Back in the house, Mary is helping Kelly through her contractions. Mary gently tells Kelly that it’s almost time because her contractions are less than five minutes apart. When asked if she’s okay, Kelly responds, “I’m dying.” Kelly asks Mary if she would die for her sons. Smiling, Mary tells her she would.

On the other side of the rift, Bobby explains that the rift’s opening set off alarms at his place, and he arrived just in time to save Castiel from a tempter demon. Bobby says that he usually guns down angels on sight, but Castiel looked different somehow. After he saved Castiel, the two of them filled each other in on their separate worlds. Bobby says that “the dicks upstairs” will soon notice the rift, and when they arrive he plans to mow them down with his gun (named Rufus) full of bullets cast from old angel blades.

Sam, Dean, and Castiel step back through the rift only to be greeted by Crowley, who has managed to escape from the Bunker and follow them to the house. Crowley cheekily informs them that he is the answer to all their problems. Castiel goes back upstairs to check on Kelly, who asks him what’s wrong. He reassures her that everything will be fine, and reminds her of his vision of paradise. Downstairs, Sam and Dean prepare to face Lucifer. Dean says that he hopes Castiel’s faith in the Nephilim is right, but that he puts faith in all of them instead.

Sam, Dean, and Castiel step outside to face Lucifer. Sam warns him that Chuck will stop him from whatever he plans to do, but Lucifer mockingly tells them that Chuck is gone. Castiel charges at Lucifer but is tossed aside, and Sam and Dean run away, heading behind the house. When Lucifer catches up to them, they are standing beside the rift, and they step through as he watches. Intrigued, Lucifer follows. When he appears on the other side, Dean stalls Lucifer by shooting him with the angel-killing gun while Sam and Crowley attempt a ritual to close the rift and lock Lucifer in the parallel universe. Lucifer isn’t fazed by the angel-killing bullets, and begins to beat Dean up. Crowley reveals that the rift-closing spell’s final ingredient is a life, and he walks over to face Lucifer, knocking him away from Dean. Taunting him, Lucifer tells him there is nothing he can do, that he will lose no matter what he does. Smiling, Crowley agrees with him, and turns to Sam and Dean to say goodbye before stabbing himself with an angel blade. The rift-closing spell ignites, and the rift pulses. Castiel suddenly appears and charges Lucifer. Dean tries to stop him, but Sam drags Dean back across the closing rift into their own universe.

In the house, Kelly screams in pain during a contraction. Energy pulses under her skin, and she is engulfed in light. She whispers, “I love you” before an explosion of light knocks her back and sends Mary flying across the room, unconscious.

On the other side of the rift, Castiel stabs Lucifer with his angel blade, and Lucifer’s eyes glow red. Back in their own universe, Sam and Dean worriedly watch the rift. They are relieved when Castiel steps back through, but their relief turns to horror when Lucifer steps through behind him and stabs Castiel through the chest with an angel blade. Castiel falls to the ground, dead, and Lucifer quips, “playtime’s over.” Mary emerges from the house and tells Lucifer to get away from her sons. Lucifer responds by thanking her for everything. Sam tries to hold Mary back, and she tells Sam and Dean that she loves them before lunging forward and punching Lucifer with her Enochian brass knuckles. She knocks Lucifer backwards into the rift, but he grabs onto Mary as he falls, taking her with him as the rift closes, trapping them on the other side. Sam notices a flickering light coming from Kelly’s room and runs back inside. Dean is left kneeling next to Castiel’s body, looking up at the sky.

When Sam enters Kelly’s room, he finds her dead, lying peacefully on the bed with her arms folded. As Sam is closing Kelly’s eyes, he hears a clatter and then a high-pitched ringing coming from another part of the house. Looking for the source of the sound, he follows a set of footprints that have been scorched into the floor, leading Sam into the nursery. In the corner of the room, he sees a fully-grown man whose eyes glow gold. Upon seeing Sam, the Nephilim gives a sinister smile.




  • "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas
(plays during "The Road So Far" recap of events; also played in 1.21 Salvation, 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two, 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked, 4.22 Lucifer Rising, 5.22 Swan Song, 6.22 The Man Who Knew Too Much, 7.23 Survival of the Fittest, 8.23 Sacrifice, 9.23 Do You Believe in Miracles?, 10.23 Brother's Keeper and 11.23 Alpha and Omega)
  • "Scotland the Brave"
(Rowena's ring tone)


Dean: Okay, let me just get this straight. So... we beat the Brits, we kicked their psycho, tea-swilling asses, and instead of popping champagne and headin' to Vegas, we get Lucifer.
Lucifer: Oh, if you're looking for Rowena, she is presently indisposed. Which is a delicate way of saying, I stomped on her face till the white meat showed, and then set her on fire, just in case. Ah. Gingers. It was messy and... screamy, but it had to be done, Sam. I'm about to be a dad. Can't raise the little nipper from a jail cell now, can I? Speaking of... you know where your little pal Castiel is?
Mary: All right, then. Kind of always wanted to punch the Devil in the face.
Sam: Dean, wait.

Dean / Mary: Seriously?
Sam: Look, just don't kill him. He worked the Cage spell with Rowena. Maybe he can help us.
Mary: And what if he can't.

Sam: Well, then we kill him.
Crowley: I wanted to win. I perverted Mother's spell, put Lucifer in a vessel of my own making because I wanted to win. You have any idea how many people have made a play for my throne over the years? Lucifer, Abaddon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Too damn many. I thought if I could put the Devil on a leash... my own personal nuke, no one would ever dare challenge me again.
Sam: So, why are you here?

Crowley: Well, whenever there's a world-ending crisis at hand, I know where to place my bets. It's on you, you big, beautiful, lumbering piles of flannel. So if you'll forgive my transgression, I'll make it worth your while.
Dean: Which means?
Crowley: After we put Lucifer back in his cage -- together -- I'll seal the Gates of Hell. You'll never see another demon again, apart from, of course, yours truly.
Mary: You would do that?

Crowley: Why not? They stab me in the back, I'll happily stab them in the front, the sides, and right up their little black-eyed asses. So... we have a deal?
Kelly: Tell me again. Tell me again what you saw.

Cas: Right, I saw-- I saw... I saw the future. I saw a world without pain or hunger or want. I saw the world that this child... that your child... will create. And it is a world without fear and without suffering and without hate.
Kelly: Mm.

Cas: I saw paradise.
Dean: All right, on a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is this?

Sam: I don't know. I gotta say, a, uh, hole in reality to a bombed out apocalypse world? I'm gonna go with 11.

Dean: Sounds right.
Dean: Bobby, it's us. Sam and Dean Winchester.

Bobby: The only Winchester I ever heard of was John.
Sam: Yeah. John Winchester, our father.
Bobby: Doubt it. He's dead. Been dead over 40 years now. Only reason I know about him is this hunter I ran with, Mary Campbell. You get a few pints of shine into her, and she always told the same story about the man she loved – John Winchester. Azazel killed her about 10 years ago.
Sam: Cas, what the the hell is this?

Castiel: This is a world where you were never born. It's a world you never saved.
Bobby: Well, I don't know. It ain't so bad here, if you like killing angels.

Sam: And you do?

Bobby: It's my hobby and my passion. So... I figured, it's only a matter of time before the dicks upstairs get wind'a this. And when they show... me and Rufus go to work. He's loaded with a hundred rounds, cast from old angel blades.
Lucifer: Oh, no, no. You had your chance. You could've put me back in the Cage, but... you had to make it personal, didn't you?

Crowley: You're right. It is personal. You humiliated me. I... I hate you. Deeply. Truly. And I'm gonna enjoy wiping that smug, self-satisfied look off your face. Personally.
Lucifer: You mean... this one? Come on, Crowley. You know whatever you try, you're gonna lose.

Crowley: You're right. Bye, boys.

Trivia & References

"All Along the Watchtower" is a reference to the song of the same name by Bob Dylan and most famously covered by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Kelly: Okay, but... Cas, I mean, you went a little overboard.

Castiel: I disagree. I have read 74 books on child rearing, and there is one thing they all agree on -- everybody poops.

Everyone Poops is a well-known children's book whose entire plot is pretty much encompassed by the title.
Kelly: 'Pressure waves'?

Castiel: It's what they-- It's what they called contractions in my doula class. I-I took it online. First-time mothers, labor can be 12 to 18 hours, sometimes longer. It... Although, given this is the child of Lucifer and a quasi-celestial being...

A doula is a trained professional who provides support to a pregnant person before, during, and shortly after childbirth.
Dean: Hey, if he shows, can you flame on again? Can you torch Lucifer like you did Dagon?
"Flame on!" is the phrase that comic book superhero Human Torch shouts to ignite his signature full-body flames.
Castiel: It's a doorway to another world.

Dean: Anoth-- What, like Narnia?

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven stories by C. S. Lewis, featuring the fictional world "Narnia", which can be entered through the back of a wardrobe.
Castiel: No. No through there it's Earth, but... but different. It's a -- It's an alternate reality.

Sam: So it's a Bizarro world? Or – or like the place we got zapped to where we were, uh, actors on a TV show.
Dean: Oh, yeah. The supernatural wasn't real.
Sam: Yeah.
Dean: And you were Polish.

Bizarro World is a planet featured in comic books by DC Comics. It is also known as "htraE": "Earth" spelled backwards. Sam and Dean are referencing 6.15 The French Mistake, when Balthazar sent them to an alternate dimension where their lives are a TV show in order to distract Virgil and Raphael while he delivered all the weapons he stole from Heaven to Castiel and his angel army to prevent the Apocalypse from restarting.
Castiel: Are you all right?

Dean: No, Cas. Pretty far from all right. I mean, we've got Lucifer on this side, we've got Mad Max World on that side. I mean, yeah, we've been down before, but this? I-I mean, I don't even know where to start.

Dean is referencing the Mad Max movie franchise, which takes place in a world where society has collapsed.
Lucifer: Ooh. Sweet toy.

Dean: Yeah, I got it off an old -- new pal of mine. See, we have this bet, see if it works against an archangel. So... say hello to my little friend.

"Say hello to my little friend!" is a line famously spoken by Al Pacino in the 1983 movie Scarface before shooting down a door. Video


"All Along the Watchtower" is Misha Collins' 100th appearance on Supernatural, including his voice over work from 11.04 Baby. The episode also marked Mark Sheppard's 70th and final appearance as Crowley.
Due to it being shortly after 12.22 Who We Are, Dean still sports his knee injury from the grenade launcher blast and facial lacerations from his fight with Mr. Ketch during the first half of the episode. After seeing Dean's knee bother him, Castiel heals his injuries, including the cuts on his face.
Time in the Apocalypse World seems to work in the opposite of the Prime Earth. Castiel first stepped through the rift during the day, arriving in the alternate Earth during the night, while Sam and Dean stepped through the rift during the evening and arrived in the alternate Earth during the day.
The semi-automatic rifle Bobby uses in this episode is the same one Rufus Turner used in 5.02 Good God, Y'All. Ironically, he calls it "Rufus".
"All Along the Watchtower" reveals that archangels cannot be killed by standard angel blades.
Castiel's death fell on a Thursday, appropriate as he is the angel of Thursday.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts