I Did What I Had to Do

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"I did what I had to do" is an oft-repeated phrase starting during season nine, used by characters as a way to justify their dubious actions.

Episodes

9.09 Holy Terror

Castiel confronts the angel Theo for doing Bartholomew's dirty work.

Castiel: You're... noticing this now? You were more than willing to do his dirty work.
Theo: I did what I had to.
Castiel: When you were sure he would defeat Bartholomew.

Later Castiel tells Dean how he was tortured and escaped his captors.

Castiel: He had me. I, uh, I was tortured. But I got away.
Dean: How?
Castiel: I... I did what I had to. I became what they've become. A barbarian.

Dean attempts to justify his tricking Sam into being possessed by Gadreel.

Dean: I tricked you into saying yes. It seemed like the only way.
Sam: So... Again. You thought I couldn't handle something, so you took over!
Dean: No, I did what I had to do! You would've never agreed to it, and you would've died.

Gadreel justifies his reasoning to Dean for his betrayal and murder of Kevin.

Gadreel: Alter a sigil... even the slightest... Alter the spell. Sorry about Kevin, but ultimately... it's for the best. I did what I had to.

9.22 Stairway to Heaven

Metatron attempts to justify causing the Fall to Castiel and the Winchesters, saying it was a way to make the angels a family again.

Castiel: Who are you to lecture me on lying? Your deception led to the Fall.
Metatron: I did what I had to do. I have always done what I have to do, for God and for the angels.

11.17 Red Meat

After seemingly killing an injured Sam, Corbin Tilghman tries to justify to his wife Michelle what he did to get her to safety.

Michelle: Hey, what happened back there? Talk to me.
Corbin: I saved us. Look, you're hurt bad and... and I love you, Michelle. I can't lose you. I did what I had to do.

11.22 We Happy Few

Chuck tries to justify to Lucifer His actions in locking away Amara to create the universe, and then Lucifer when the Mark corrupted him.

Chuck: I did what I had to do! To create the world, I had to lock Amara away. And when the Mark corrupted you, and I saw you posed a threat to humankind, I did the same with you.

13.12 Various & Sundry Villains

Rowena tells the Plum sisters, Jamie and Jennie, she did what she had to by bringing the Winchesters with her, after the sisters ran off with the Black Grimoire.

Rowena: When you nincompoops ran, I did what I had to do. But I can still cast the spell. We can still complete our deal.