|Dates||Creation - Eternity|
|Location||No fixed address|
|Occupation||Horseman of the Apocalypse|
|Episode(s)|| 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday (mentioned)|
5.10 Abandon All Hope... (unseen)
5.15 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (unseen)
5.19 Hammer of the Gods (mentioned)
5.20 The Devil You Know (mentioned)
5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight
6.11 Appointment in Samarra
7.01 Meet the New Boss
7.10 Death's Door (mentioned)
9.01 I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here
This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy that’s barely out of its diapers. I’m old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you.
This is the angel of death. Big daddy reaper. They keep this guy chained in a box six hundred feet under. Last time they hauled him up, Noah was building a boat.
Death is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, referred to in the Book of Revelation as the Pale Horseman, he appears to be the eldest of the four, older than Famine, War and Pestilence. According to him, he is the only being in existence that will persist through the end of time. According to Death neither he nor God can remember which of them is older. Death also believes at the end of time, God himself will die, and he will then reap God.
Death created reapers to serve him and his purpose to keep balance of the natural order.
At some point in the past Death became imprisoned. He is released by Lucifer during the Apocalypse, and finds himself forced to serve the fallen archangel's wishes. Though he is often unseen, Death's actions and presence have far reaching effects. On Lucifer's orders, he resurrects the dead, causes biblical storms and massive hurricanes. Death is even ordered by Lucifer to destroy Chicago with a massive storm which will kill three million people. Dean encounters him in Chicago, and Death reveals that he does not serve Lucifer by choice, and is willing to give up his ring to see Lucifer re-imprisoned. He agrees not to destroy Chicago, saying he "likes their pizza."
After the defeat of Lucifer, Death returns his attention to maintaining the natural order. In spite of his own reservations about resurrecting the dead, he retrieves Sam's soul from Lucifer's Cage and returns it to him so that the Winchesters will continue to investigate a greater threat against the balance of life and death.
Death travels in a white 1959 Cadillac with a California license plate that reads BUH*BYE. His human appearance is that of a very slender, and almost skeleton-like, older man. While reapers in Supernatural are portrayed as being part of the natural order, Death is initially seen as being catastrophic, but after the re-imprisonment of Lucifer, he returns to his position as the leader of the reapers as a force for balance. Death's knowledge and age are immeasurable, and his power is immense, exceeding that of almost any other entity encountered by Sam and Dean. Death has a fondness for junk food, including bacon dogs and pizza, soda and pickle chips.
Powers and Abilities
- He is immortal by default.
- He is indestructible (although it is implied by Crowley that Death's scythe can harm him).
- He can raise the dead and resurrect anyone he wants.
- He can manipulate the weather to whatever he chooses or wants it to be.
- He is omniscient - Has extensive knowledge of the universe.
- He is omnipotent - Can practically do whatever he wants and go wherever he wants.
- He can be bound (as he was imprisoned for thousands of years beneath the Earth).
- Assuming what Crowley said to be true, Death's scythe can harm him.
Death wears a ring with a white stone. Combined with the rings of the other Horsemen, it can open Lucifer's Cage. He willingly gives it to Dean to allow the Winchesters to trap Lucifer.
Unlike the other Horsemen, the loss of his ring does not seem to lessen Death's power. However, his ring when worn by a human being grants the wearer the power of killing human beings with a touch. While wearing the ring, Dean ended the lives of the dying so that a reaper could escort their souls to Heaven or Hell.
After successfully retrieving Sam's soul from Lucifer's Cage, Death secures it within an old-fashioned black leather doctor's bag. Once on Earth, he removes the soul from the bag and places it back into Sam.
Alastair references Death when he claims that his reaper killing weapon was given to him by an "old buddy from downstairs. Now, between you and me, he doesn't ride a pale horse, but he does have 3 amigos."
Lucifer undertakes a ritual to release Death. He chooses the town of Carthage, Missouri which was the site of a terrible battle during the Civil War known as the Battle of Hellhole. The ritual requires the killing all the women and children in the town, who are then buried in a mass grave. Lucifer then performs an invocation, and commands the demon possessed townsmen to sacrifice themselves "to complete this tribute." They do so, and Death rises, casting a shadow across Lucifer.
Death arrives in Bobby's hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and proceeds to revive some of the dead in the local cemetery, including Bobby's wife Karen. While unseen in this episode, his presence is heralded by fierce lighting storms. Those who are revived by Death appear normal at first, but after five days, the revived devolve into stereotypical zombies, developing a craving for human flesh after a high fever.
Before dying a second time, Karen says that Death told her that the entire incident was organized to attack Bobby, as he is one of the few remaining elements keeping Sam from saying "yes" to act as Lucifer's vessel. Karen describes Death as "so thin - like a skeleton."
Sam, Dean and Bobby are hunting Death and Pestilence.
Bobby is talking on the phone with Rufus Turner discussing possible omens for locating Death when Crowley appears in his home. Crowley tells Bobby he can help them find Death, but he needs to make a deal for Bobby's soul to pull it off. Bobby is resistant to the idea, but Crowley assures him that it will be temporary and that he will give Bobby back his soul after it's done.
Death arrives in Chicago to start a large storm chain that will trigger massive weather events globally, and will result in at least 3 million deaths. A man runs into him on the street and yells at him. Death brushes his shoulder, where he was touched, and the offending man falls to the ground, dead.
Death stops in a pizzeria for lunch, killing everyone inside (this may have been unintentional, with the deaths a consequence of being near him). He is found by Dean, who attempts to sneak up on him with Death's scythe. However, the scythe begins to burn hot in proximity to Death, forcing Dean to drop it and alerting the Horseman to his presence. Rather than act hostile toward Dean like the other Horsemen, Death thanks him for returning the Scythe to him before asking Dean to join him at the table. Death then reveals that he has been waiting for a long time to talk with Dean.
When Dean asks him how old he is, Death admits he can't really remember anymore and guesses he is as old or older than God himself, but neither can remember anymore. He surmises that he has been alive since life itself began and someday he will even reap God. Death states that God is a living being like any other and someday he too will die; its just the way things work. Dean comments that this is "above his pay grade," and Death agrees.
Death explains that Lucifer, whom he describes as "a bratty child," has him bound by a spell and is using him in creating Apocalyptic chaos, and prevented him from going to Dean. Death offers his ring to Dean, on the condition that Dean must do everything in his power to assure that Lucifer is put back in his Cage, even sacrificing Sam. Dean reluctantly agrees, and Death warns him to hold true to his word by saying he can't cheat Death. He then gives Dean instructions on how to operate the rings that combine to form a key.
Later, Dean and Bobby discuss the plan and while Dean is skeptical, Bobby says that Death probably has a larger view of things than they do and they should have more faith in Sam.
Dean locates a doctor who knew John, and who currently operates unauthorized. He and his medical assistant Eve stop Dean's heart, killing him, and allowing for an out-of-body experience. After his soul departs from his body, Dean summons Tessa, and requests that she call Death. She refuses to disturb her superior, but Death appears nonetheless, and greets Dean. Dean asks Death to retrieve Sam's soul and their brother Adam from the Cage. Death instructs him to pick only one of his brothers, and Dean chooses Sam. Death tells Dean that he will raise Sam's soul if Dean acts as Death using his ring for twenty-four hours. Dean accepts, but fails, taking the ring off before the end of the day. Death reappears to Dean, eating a bacon dog, and offers another to Dean. Dean returns the ring, and speculates that Death knew he would not be able to complete the deal. Death is pleased when he sees Dean has learned something about the natural order, and the consequences of changing it. In spite of Dean's failure, Death prepares to return Sam's soul, telling Dean to continue his research on Purgatory and souls. Death disappears, collects Sam's soul, and returns it to Sam, inserting a mental barrier in his mind to hold back the memories and consequences of the constant torture which his soul endured. His warns Sam not to scratch at the wall.
Crowley provides Sam and Dean with a spell to bind Death to them. It is successful, and Death appears, bound. He thinks that he has been summoned regarding Sam's hallucinations, but Death won't help Sam. Dean tells him that they want him to kill Castiel. Before they can convince him, though, Castiel appears. He threatens to kill them all, but Dean reminds him that Death is under their control.
During their stand-off, Death confronts Castiel about his deteriorating state. Death tells him that it is because he absorbed things from Purgatory, things older than souls, that he can't contain. Death then explains that long before God created the first angels and men, he created the leviathans. They were locked away in Purgatory because they threatened to tear apart the world, and now these leviathans are within Castiel. Death warns that Castiel is just a thin membrane between the old ones and their world.
Castiel scoffs at Death's warnings and threatens to kill him, and Death ignores his threats, telling him that he isn't a God. Dean orders Death to kill Castiel, but Castiel breaks the bonds tying Death to their will and then flees. Instead of turning on them, Death declares that Castiel's arrogance is annoying and decides to help them yet again. He tells Dean that the things Castiel absorbed can be returned to Purgatory: they just have to return to the place where they first confronted Castiel as a God, open another door to Purgatory, and convince him to give up his new power.
In order to open the door to Purgatory, Death agrees to create another eclipse at 3:59 AM on Sunday.
After Bobby has been shot by Dick Roman, he has slipped into a coma and is slowly dying. A reaper enters his mind to carry his soul over to the afterlife. Bobby travels further into his own mind to escape him. When talking to a mental projection of Rufus, he mentions that the only thing that could permanently stop the reaper from claiming him is Death, the reaper's boss. Bobby says however that they wouldn't want him to get involved, presumably since Death would most likely see Bobby's impending death as a part of the natural order to be maintained and would therefore claim him immediately.
When Sam is near death from the damage he took from the trials, Death himself comes to reap him, appearing to him in his coma dream and saying that he considers it an honor and that while he usually doesn't pass judgment, he tells Sam "well done, my boy." Sam is ready to come with him and asks if Death can make it so that he dies permanently this time and can't be brought back which Death confirms. However, before Sam can agree to go with Death, Ezekiel shows up in Dean's form to try to convince Sam to not give up and say "Yes" to him which will allow him to possess him and heal him from the inside. Death doesn't interfere saying that its Sam's decision and he ultimately says yes after which Death disappears from Sam's mind.
Death in Lore
Death as an entity is found in widely separated cultures, both as a male and as a female. Often, Death is portrayed either as a skeleton or robed figure with a scythe. He or she also appears frequently in writing, including the Book of Revelation, Paradise Lost, the Discworld series, and the works of Neil Gaiman, such as The Sandman and Good Omens. On film, the most well-known version of Death may be that appearing in The Seventh Seal, which shows Death playing a chess game against a knight who is trying to get home.
- For more info concerning the invocation which released him see William Jasper's Farm.
- The song "O Death" sung by Jen Titus was used to herald Death's arrival in 5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight.
- The fact that Death is always eating when he is making a deal can be a reference to the death drive, from Freudian psychoanalytic theory about the two conflicting central desires which guide humans. While eating, although there is the life drive since the point of feeding is to keep alive, there is also the death drive, because it is necessary to destroy the food before ingesting, an aggressive element.
- Julian Richings played Death again in the 2011 short film Dave vs. Death, although he's not stated to be the same character. This Death uses the prototypical "robe and scythe" appearance at first, before he switches to a black suit much like the Supernatural version, since he considers it "less theatrical." A man named David Kane, recently deceased, bargains for his life by playing a game of chess against Death, and one of his loved ones will die for every chess piece he loses. The end reveals that Kane tricked Death into killing people who were all plotting against him behind his back. Death is annoyed that David cheated, so he starts the game over again, but doesn't resurrect the people he already claimed in Kane's stead. It can be seen on the short films website BravoFact.com.