|“||It's for the greater good. Once you consider that, this makes all the sense in the world.||”|
Death, also known as the Pale Horseman and The Angel of Death, was the oldest and most powerful member of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and an ancient primordial entity of immense power. Having existed since the beginning of time alongside God, Death is so old he cannot remember who is older: himself or God.
During the days of the Apocalypse, Death was bound to Lucifer and awaited for the Winchesters to find him. Death then willingly gave Dean his ring in order to stop Lucifer and imprison him back in the cage. After the fallen archangel was defeated, Dean reached out to Death and offered to give the Pale Horsemen his ring back in exchange for taking Sam's soul out of the cage. After wearing the ring, Dean convinced Death and Death brought Sam's soul out.
Later, when Castiel was corrupted by the souls of Purgatory, the Winchesters summoned and bound Death to have him kill Castiel. Though he was freed, he still offered a way to have the angel return the souls to Purgatory.
A few years later, Dean summoned him again to have Death kill him, due to having suffered under the Mark of Cain. Though Death said he could not, he offered to transport Dean somewhere he would still be alive but wouldn't be a threat in exchange for Dean killing Sam. However, Dean killed Death with his own scythe.
|“||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.||”|
Death's existence is hinted at by Alastair when he performs a ritual to break one of the 66 Seals. He claims an "old friend" loaned him his scythe, and "he doesn't really ride a pale horse, but he does have three amigos." Death does not make a physical appearance in Abandon All Hope..., but his presence is released from its prison in that episode by Lucifer's ritual. After the ritual is complete, the camera shifts to Death's perspective, and massive wings can be heard in the background, while Lucifer says "O hello, Death".
Death is the boss of all reapers. A large number of reapers gathered in the town where Lucifer was going to release Death in order to serve him.
Normally, Death is kept locked and chained in a magical coffin 600 feet under the Earth. The Host of Heaven only released him when God had something major planned such as the Great Flood, or, as Bobby Singer put it, "The last time they hauled him up, Noah was building a boat."
Lucifer was intent on summoning Death, and because of this, numerous reapers gathered, ready to take his orders when he appeared. Lucifer claims, while he is releasing Death, that the requirements for the summoning are very demanding, and he also appears to have some degree of respect for the Horseman.
Death arrived in Bobby's hometown and proceeds to revive the dead in the local cemetery. While still unseen, his presence is heralded by fierce lightning storms. As revealed by Bobby's wife, he appears before her to tell her to give a message to Bobby: the entire incident was organized to attack Bobby, as he is one of the few remaining elements keeping Sam Winchester from agreeing to be Lucifer's vessel. Those who are revived by Death appear normal at first, but after five days they devolve into stereotypical zombie behavior, contracting high fevers and developing cravings for human flesh.
Death drove a pale grey 1959 Cadillac Series 62 coupe with the license plate "BUH-BYE". He arrived in Chicago, Illinois, and walks down a street full of people. A distracted man rudely shoves past him, and Death turns to look at the man while brushing the side of his coat where the man touched him. He then continues walking as the man falls dead to the ground.
Death has arrived in Chicago to start a large storm chain that will trigger massive weather events and kill around three million people. Death, unlike his brothers, appears to have a habit of wandering off from his assigned tasks, much to the annoyance of Lucifer.Dean and Crowley track him to a pizzeria where Dean attempts to sneak up on him with Death's scythe. However, the scythe begins to burn hot in Death's presence, forcing Dean to drop it. Rather than acting hostile like his siblings, the Horseman thanks him for returning the Scythe before asking Dean to join him at the table. Death reveals that he has been waiting for a while to talk with Dean. Dean inquires if Death intends to kill him, causing Death to remark "you have an inflated sense of your own importance" and goes on to compare Dean to a "snarky bacterium". Death claims he has forgotten how old he is, and it is possible that he is as old, or older, than God himself. Death also claims that one day he will reap God, with Dean remarking how in over his head he truly is.
Dean asks what Death wants; Death answers simply "The leash around my neck off" before going on to explain that he never agreed to work for Lucifer. He goes on to explain that he has power beyond what Dean can ever understand and Lucifer, whom he describes as "a bratty child", is using him as a simple weapon, creating massive disasters and raising the dead. This indicates that Death has some care for the natural order of things and Lucifer's genocide against Humanity is upsetting it. He goes on to explain the binding spell prevents him from going to Dean so he had to wait for Dean to catch up.
Dean then asks what he wants him to do and Death says first to "take the bullets out of Lucifer's gun". He then willingly takes off his ring. He tells Dean he is inclined to give him the ring if certain conditions are met. He tells Dean not to worry about Chicago, as he likes the pizza, he will stop the storm. His conditions are that Dean must do everything in his power to assure that Lucifer is put back in his cell. While Sam will be the one to put Lucifer back in the cage, Dean must allow it - even if it means killing Sam by letting him jump into the cage. Dean reluctantly agrees while Death warns him to hold true to his word by saying he can't cheat Death, he then gives Dean the instructions on how to operate the rings that combine to form a key-like device.
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 Winchester sought out Death, as he figures he is powerful enough to lift Sam's soul from Lucifer's cage. He requests that he bring both Sam and their half-brother Adam out of the cage, but Death limits him to pick only one. When Dean chooses Sam, Death states that he will retrieve Sam's soul and set up a "wall" blocking out the memories in Hell, as he would certainly suffer with the memories. He tells Dean that will be his prize if he agrees to Death's deal: he asks for Dean to find his ring, and put it on to become Death for one day. Before Death can explain why, Dean is revived from his dying state.
Death later approaches Dean after the latter has clearly lost the wager. Dean returns the ring, and Death acknowledges that Dean's learned something out of his experience. He tells him that he got a hard look behind the curtain, being the one to clean up everybody's messes. The horseman hints that this is the reason why he doesn't make exceptions with death, as this could disrupt the natural order and start a chain reaction of disasters. Death then surprises Dean by announcing he's going to Hell to fetch Sam's soul out of Lucifer's cage.
In order to find a way to defeat Castiel, Dean summoned Crowley and asked about the spell that can bind Death. After convincing him, Crowley gives them the spell, and they start preparations for the summoning. After the ritual, Death appears but isn't happy since he is bound by Dean. Dean asks Death to kill "God". When Castiel shows up, the two exchange words. Death instantly takes a dislike to Castiel and tells him he isn't God and that he is harboring something other than souls inside himself. He explains that, prior to creating angels and man, God created the first beasts: the Leviathans. While Death thought they were entertaining, God was concerned that they would "chomp the entire petri dish" so he sealed them away. Purgatory was made to be their jail and now they are inside Castiel who Death says is just a "thin membrane" separating the Leviathans from Earth.
Dean quickly demands that Death kill Castiel, but when he moves to do it, Castiel frees Death. When Castiel leaves, Death remains. He reprimands Dean for another mess and not following on his hint about "souls" he gave Dean last time. Death gives Dean another chance to fix it by telling him he needs to get Castiel to "return it all to Purgatory". Before he leaves, he tells Dean he will create another eclipse so it is possible to open the door whilst also making a threat to never even attempt to bind him again; "you'll die before you start."
When Sam is in a coma and on the verge of dying, Death personally comes to reap Sam. Death explains that he considers it an honor and congratulates Sam, saying "well played, my boy" though he usually doesn't pass judgment on souls. The two converse with Sam asking that if he agrees to die, can Death make it permanent, which Death confirms. However, before Sam can agree, Gadreel enters Sam's mind in Dean's form to convince him to say "yes" to possession so he can heal him. Death says that it's Sam's decision and doesn't intervene when Sam agrees to "Dean's" plan to save him, not knowing what it is. Why Death doesn't tell Sam that it is Gadreel, not Dean, is unknown.
Realizing he can't fight the Mark of Cain anymore, Dean summoned Death to kill him so he won't be a threat to mankind anymore, giving him Mexican food Dean had made himself as an offering. However, while Death enjoyed this meal, he tells him even he can't kill Dean because the Mark's power prevents even him from doing that, making the bearer of the Mark the only known thing Death cannot kill. He could, however, remove it, but will only do so if Dean passes the Mark to someone else. Death reveals that the Mark is the first curse in the existence, and reveals its origins and greater importance to Dean.
Death explains that before there was light, life, or even the Earth, there was the Darkness, an ancient being that God and his archangels warred against. They used their combined strength and defeated the Darkness, and God locked it away with the Mark as the mystical lock and key to the Darkness' prison, and that it's removal without any other host will unleash the Darkness from its prison.
God gave it to his most trusted lieutenant, Lucifer, and the Mark eventually corrupted him by making him jealous and rebellious of mankind, creating the events of Lucifer being banished from Heaven. Lucifer later passed the Mark to Cain, who passed it to Dean who needed to pass it to someone else if he wants it gone, as the Mark needs at least one living host to prevent the Darkness from being released.
Death offers Dean another choice when he refuses to burden anyone else with the Mark; Death can transport Dean somewhere so far away he's no longer a threat to anyone. However, the price is Dean must kill Sam so that Sam won't try to get him back and remove the Mark. Dean agrees and tricks Sam into coming. Death watches as Dean tells Sam he feels they are evil and the world is better off without them after the damage they both have caused the world.
Eventually, Sam agrees to sacrifice himself to stop the Mark's power and gives Dean pictures of him with his family so he can one day find his way back. Death hands Dean his scythe, but reminded of his love for his family, and due to the fact Death said that he would kill Sam himself if Dean didn't, Dean unexpectedly impales Death himself with the scythe instead of Sam. In a state of disbelief, Death doesn't react with much more than a brief glance of bewilderment before he and his scythe crumble to dust.
In Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire, the Winchesters speculate on how the Rabid infection of Superior, Nebraska came into being. Dean notes that he'd killed Death a few hours before so he's willing to believe anything. While the Darkness communicates with Dean through a vision, Dean tells her that Death told him about her. The Darkness is confused, telling Dean that she doesn't know Death and that Death doesn't know her.
In Form and Void, Sam meets the Reaper Billie who tells him that she isn't eager to help someone who helped "gut my boss." Sam tells Billie that he's sorry that Death is dead and Billie admits that she is too. Billie tells Sam that Death was always amused by the Winchesters cycle of death and resurrection but with him gone, there's now only one rule: "everything that lives, dies." As a result, the Reapers will now throw the Winchesters into the Empty if they die, in order to prevent them to come back from dead again permanently.
In Advanced Thanatology, after briefly committing suicide, Dean encounters Billie who is now the new Death. Billie reveals that one of the rules of the universe is that when one incarnation of Death dies, the next Reaper to die takes his place. Thus as the first Reaper to be killed since Dean killed Death, she was reincarnated as his replacement.
After being brought back to life by Billie, Dean tells Sam that he encountered Death. Sam is confused as Dean had killed Death, but Dean explains how Billie has taken Death's place which surprises Sam.
|“||When I came back, there was a man. (...) He was so thin, like a skeleton.||”|
Unlike his reapers, Death is dressed in a dark business suit and wears a long black topcoat over it, as opposed to mortician wear which the reapers (except Tessa, Billie, and rogue reapers) are clothed in. He also carries a steel-tipped cane and is indeed very thin like Bobby's wife described. He also appears to have overly large pupils that expand like the sockets of a skull depending upon his mood. His ring is pure silver and has a white stone set in it.
|“||You have an inflated sense of your importance. To a thing like me, a thing like you, well... Think how you would feel if a bacterium sat at your table and started to get snarky.||”|
Despite being callous and uninterested at times, Death has a respect for the natural order of the universe. He explains to Dean that there are times when it is difficult, but in the end, breaking the order in even the smallest way can cause untold chaos.
While he does not hate Dean and Sam, Death feels that the pair are an affront to the natural order due to their constant resurrections and seems to show a certain annoyance regarding there numerous ressurections. Even though he is capable of it, as a rule, Death himself does not normally resurrect people, though he can and might make exceptions or even "an exception once, not twice." He also seems to genuinely like, to a certain degree, Dean as the two share an almost father-son bond; Death even went as far as loaning Dean his Ring so he can become Death for a day, as a way to teach Dean quality of the Human Soul, along with the consequences of disrupting the natural order. He also appears to Dean when he briefly dies to contact him, something he does on his own as Tessa is both unwilling and unable to summon him. While Dean does lose their wager, Death is satisfied enough by the fact that he has learned his lesson to do as Dean asks anyway, though he says it is also so they will keep digging into what is going on with the souls of Purgatory as he presumably doesn't like the idea of souls being used for power. Unlike the other Horsemen, Death has a level of respect for humans, specifically the human soul. Death tells Dean that the soul is stronger than anyone knows and that it can suffer much and be broken but can't be destroyed, not even by him.
Over time, Death expressed more respect for the Winchesters and has even indicated that he was honored to be reaping Sam himself. However, he showed some anger at Sam avoiding Death reaping him as he told Sam that was part of the reason he wanted Dean to kill him. Billie the Reaper states that while annoyed, Death actually found some amusement in Sam and Dean's repeated returns from dying, indicating that was part of the reason he allowed it instead of stopping it from happening, but that now that death is gone, the only rule now is "What lives, dies."
Despite claiming to be totally indifferent to the Winchesters and Earth, Death has helped them on a number of occasions. He gave his ring to Dean to stop Lucifer, agreed to get Sam's soul back, and even helped after Castiel broke the binding spell the Winchesters and Bobby had cast on him, albeit claiming that he was only doing so because he found "that little angel arrogant." He also sharply criticizes Dean for not following his earlier hint about souls and tells him bluntly that he'll help, but added, "Don't thank me. Clean up your mess." It is implied that he is not so much uncaring as he is above the petty struggles of the world, disliking being called on to fix things that he thinks should have been taken care of without bothering him. Death also has an appreciation for human food, especially junk food. His liking for Chicago's pizza was so strong he noted it as the reason he spared the city. In the next season, after Dean lost Death's wager, Death showed up at Bobby's house, with bacon dogs, fries, and beer. Later, when Dean summoned and bound him, he brought him pickle chips in an attempt to appease him, which proved fruitless. Nonetheless, after he was unbound, Death ate the food anyways and expressed his enjoyment of them on his way out.
Powers and Abilities
|“||Hurricanes, floods, raising the dead. I'm more powerful than you can process.||”|
- Nigh-Omnipotence - As a primordial being and being the eldest and most powerful member of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death can do almost anything that he desires, possessing a great deal of near infinite supernatural power. Death is so powerful that he is one of the few beings that can enter Lucifer's Cage without the need of the Rings of the Horsemen. Death is also powerful enough to remove and/or transfer the Mark of Cain. He even created an eclipse by realigning the Solar System.
- Apporting - Death was able to summon his scythe to him on multiple occasions.
- Resurrection - As he is literally the bringer of death, Death can resurrect all forms of life back to any state he so desires, such as living or undead states. He could bring multiple people back to life just with his passing, such as resurrecting an entire cemetery of people as undead beings that eventually lost their sanity and became feral. However, as it violates the Natural Order, he almost never does so due to the domino effect it causes.
- Memory Manipulation - Death was able to suppress Sam's horrific memories of being in Hell by placing the memories behind a temporary wall he created in his mind.
- Teleportation - He can teleport himself anywhere in the universe instantly. He could even teleport into and leave, Lucifer's Cage without the need of the Rings of the Horsemen.
- Weather Manipulation - Death is able to create cataclysmic events so harsh that he can wipe the Earth clean of any and all life like he did during Noah's flood. He was going to wipe out an entire state with massive weather anomalies on Lucifer's orders but later decided not to do it simply because he liked the food in the area.
- Tactile Necrokinesis - As the personification of death itself, he can instantly kill anything or anyone by touch in this manner. After being bumped into by a man walking in the opposite direction to him, Death brushed his coat with his hand where the man had walked into him, killing him instantly. He also killed an entire group of people in a restaurant just from being in his proximity. He was also going to kill Castiel, imbued with 30-40 million souls and a large amount of Leviathans by touching his forehead. He also said that he would eventually reap God.
- Invisibility - Like his brothers, Death can only be seen when he wants to be seen.
- Supernatural Perception - He can tell what something truly is, regardless of how it appears, or if it is invisible. He could even tell Castiel was hosting Leviathans.
- Terrakinesis - Death can rumble entire rooms to any magnitude he desires; he has done this when he was released from his prison, and when he was bound by Sam, Dean, and Bobby.
- Thermokinesis - Death caused his scythe to burn red-hot in order to make Dean drop it.
- Reality Warping - Death's power has shown to have an influence on the universe itself. He was able to create another eclipse right after the previous one on command.
- Nigh-Omniscience - Death has an almost absolute awareness of the universe that exceeds that of the archangels and is only rivaled by God. Death was well aware that Sam suffered from hallucinations, whereas Dean and Bobby were unaware.
- Immortality - Death is exempt from all forms of pain, fatigue, age, and disease. Death stated that he will eventually be the only thing to last forever.
Despite rivaling God's power, even Death had a few weaknesses.
Harming and Trapping
- Binding - Death can effectively be bound. God kept him imprisoned beneath the Earth for thousands of years for unknown reasons. After raising him, Lucifer was able to bind Death to him and control his actions to a moderate degree, to the extent that Death needed the Winchesters' help to free himself. Sam and Dean were also able to temporarily bind Death in an attempt to stop Castiel.
- Death's coffin - This coffin can hold Death without any internal means of escape, as it was designed to bind Death's power.
- God - While God may not be able to directly kill him, he is able to bind Death.
- The Darkness - Fearful of the most powerful entity in existence, Death hesitated to break the Mark of Cain, and even went out of his way to explain why to Dean, in contrast to his usual apathetic demeanor.
|“||The leash around my neck -- off. Lucifer has me bound to him. Some unseemly little spell. He has me where he wants, when he wants. That's why I couldn't go to you. I had to wait for you to catch up. He made me his weapon. Hurricanes, floods, raising the dead. I'm more powerful than you can process, and I'm enslaved to a bratty child having a tantrum.||”|
— Death to Dean
|“|| As old as God. Maybe older. Neither of us can remember anymore. Life, death, chicken, egg. Regardless -- at the end, I'll reap him too."
"God? You'll reap God?" "Oh, yes. God will die, too, Dean.
— Death and Dean
|“||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.||”|
— Death to Dean
|“||You know you can't cheat Death.||”|
— Death to Dean
|“||Nothing lasts forever. Well, I do.||”|
— Death to Dean
|“||What are you really? A fly swatter?" "Destined to swat you, I think." "Unless I take you first!" "Really bought his own press, this one. Please Cass, I know God, and you sir are no God.||”|
— Castiel and Death
|“||I had a tingle I'd be reaping someone very, very soon.||”|
|“||Shut up, Dean! I'm not here to tie your shoes every time you trip! I warned you about those souls, how long ago? Long enough to stop that fool, and here we are again, with your little planet on the edge of immolation.||”|
— Death to Dean
|“||Try to bind me again, you'll die before you start. Nice Pickle Chips, by the way.||”|
— Death to Dean
|“||What's with you and cheap food?" "I could ask you the same thing.||”|
— Dean to Death
|“||I suppose it can stay. I like the pizza.||”|
— Death to Dean, after Dean asks if Death will spare Chicago.
- Season 1
- Faith (mentioned only)
- Season 4
- Death Takes A Holiday (mentioned only)
- Season 5
- Season 6
- Season 7
- Season 9
- Season 10
- Season 11
- Season 13
- Season 14
- Moriah (mentioned only)
- Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting (non-canon, mentioned only)
- Bobby's books contain a note that labels releasing Death as the seventh seal.
- Death's license plate reads "BUH BYE", an allusion to the power he wields over life and death.
- Julian Richings played Death in a short movie for a convention. The short was called "Dave Vs. Death". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8JTcMABM9Q
- Coincidentally, Julian Richings played Charon, ferryman of the River Styx, who transports newly deceased souls to the Greek Underworld in the 2010 film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
- Death is the only Horseman to be killed and not just defeated. Despite their defeat or demise, the Horsemen's attributes continue to exist as forces of nature and natural order. This allows for the Horsemen to possess different incarnations in the physical realms, such as Billie taking the old Death's job despite being killed first.
- According to the reaper Billie, all reapers are waiting for the opportunity of punishing the Winchesters after one of them (or both) dies by sending them to the Empty, from where they'll never manage to escape back to Earth because neither Heaven nor Hell can brought someone back from the Empty, because of their roles in killing their boss. However, after Billie became the new Death it seems to be annulled, as she sent a reaper to look after them.
- Julian Richings has stated that he believes Death to be alive and continues to hint at a possible return. He has stated this at DCCon 2016, SPNJax jaxCon 2017, and SPN Houston 2017. However, he has stated that he does not fully know when that return will be as he claims "The producers have not given his character a fixed date of return". However, with Billie becoming the "new" Death, it is uncertain if, how, or when the latter will make a return.
- Death is the only Horseman confirmed to predate the Universe.
- The Darkness stated that she did not know Death, which might bring into question Death's statement about him possibly being older than God.
- Disregarding flashbacks, Death is one of two Horseman to have appeared in more than one episode, the other being Pestilence. However, he is the only Horseman to have appeared in more than one season, and have a role besides being one of the driving forces of the Apocalypse.
- Death's Scythe
- Death's Ring
- Death's Coffin
- Death's Cane
- Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
- Horses of the Horsemen
- Horsemen Briefcases
- The Darkness
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Brother's Keeper
- ↑ First Blood
- ↑ Advanced Thanatology
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Two Minutes to Midnight
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Survival of the Fittest
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Abandon All Hope...
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Appointment In Samarra
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Swan Song
- ↑ Form and Void
- ↑ The Man Who Knew Too Much