|“||You got me, Jo. And you're right—this is important. But I will not leave you here alone.||”|
Ellen Harvelle was a retired hunter who ran a saloon called Harvelle's Roadhouse that her fellow hunters often visited. It was destroyed by demons in All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 1, at which point she resumed hunting.
Ellen was known to have a lot of adventures through the years, particularly with John Winchester. The most infamous story being the death of her husband in John’s protection.
Four months prior to his death, Ellen left a voicemail message on John's phone saying she could help him with the demon. Sam retrieved the message and the boys traveled to the Roadhouse. Their dad had never mentioned her to them, but Ellen told them that John "was like family once." While waiting for Ash to analyze John's information on the Yellow-Eyed Demon, Ellen passed on to the boys a case she was "saving for a friend".
Sam speculated as to whether Ellen and John ever "you know", but Dean thought not.
After the boys worked the case and killed the Rakshasa, they returned to the Roadhouse where Ash had set up a computerized demon tracking system. Ellen invited the boys to stay, but they declined and returned to Bobby's.
After encountering Gordon Walker, Sam called Ellen for information, and she warned him that Gordon was a good hunter, like "Hannibal Lecter is a good psychiatrist".
Sam and Dean went to the Roadhouse for help after Sam had a vision. After dealing with Andy Gallagher and his evil twin Ansem, the boys got a call from Ellen and returned to the Roadhouse. She said she was aware that the boys were part of something:
"... This isn't just your war, this is war. Now, something big and bad's coming and it's coming fast, and their side holds all the cards. Now, at best all we got is us. Together. No secrets or half-truths here."
Ellen was trying to prevent Jo from hunting on her own and gave Jo's case and research to Sam and Dean to take care of. But, Jo snuck away and joined them. Despite having enlisted Ash to help her cover her tracks, Ellen worked out that Jo was in Philadelphia with the Winchesters. When she called to talk to Jo, Dean confessed that she had been kidnapped by the spirit of Dr. H.H. Holmes. Ellen flew out to Philly, and after Jo is rescued, rides back in the Impala, furious with Sam, Dean, and Jo.
Back at the Roadhouse, Ellen reveals to Jo that her father was killed while hunting with John Winchester.
As he searched for the other Special Children, Sam sought help at the Roadhouse. Ellen told him that after they last met, Jo insisted on continuing hunting, and Ellen told her "not under my roof," so she left. Ellen explained that she didn't blame Sam and Dean for Jo leaving, or their father for what happened to "her Bill". She told him she forgave John long ago, though she doubted he ever forgave himself. As Sam left, he asked Ellen to not tell Dean where he was going, and she reluctantly agreed. Sometime later, Dean called her to check again if Sam had been there. She said to him, "Now Dean, they say you can't protect your loved ones forever... but I say screw that. What else is family for?" and sent him after his brother.
Gordon later tried to kill Sam because, as he revealed to Dean, his "connections" at the Roadhouse told him about Sam's powers. When Dean called Ellen in a rage, she protested that neither she nor Ash would ever tell anyone about Sam being a "psychic child." She reminded him that hunters are very smart people who know their trade very well and that any one of over a dozen that she could name off the top of her head could have figured it out on their own.
After the Roadhouse was suddenly and explosively destroyed by demons, Ellen turned up at Bobby's place. She explained that she was out buying pretzels when demons attacked the bar, killed everyone inside and burned it to the ground. But, she managed to rescue Ash's research from a safe that they kept there. Bobby made her drink a shot of holy water to ensure she wasn't possessed, then she demanded whiskey.
At the Devil's Gate in Wyoming, Jake Talley used his mind-control powers to force Ellen to point her own gun at her head. After the gate opened, it was she and Bobby who finally got it closed again. Afterwards, she left for some unknown destination (most likely to be with her daughter).
In Good God, Y'all, Ellen and her daughter ended up in a small town called River Pass, Colorado. They were there with Rufus Turner, a hunter and friend of Bobby's, to help kill the demons that had laid siege to the town, but mother and daughter were separated in the chaos. Later, Ellen was joined by Sam and Dean. Sam and Ellen went in search of Jo and Rufus but were attacked by people who appeared to be possessed by demons, and Sam was captured. Dean and Ellen found where Sam was being tortured and after a brief struggle, managed to convince Jo and Rufus that War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, was responsible for making all the people in town turn against each other, having made each side believe that the other side were demons.
They split into two groups and Castiel was separated from both and eventually trapped in Holy Fire by Lucifer. The others continued into the town and were confronted by Meg and a hellhound pack. They escaped into a hardware store, but not before Jo was hopelessly mauled by a hellhound. With desperation, Sam and Dean made a bomb after Jo insisted and designated herself as the detonator. Ellen decided to stay with Jo, as she realized someone needed to open the door to let the hounds in. Jo and Dean share their first and last kiss before the brothers escape. Jo died in her mother's arms before she could set off the bomb, and Ellen was left to blow up the building. As one of the hellhounds got close enough to ruffle Ellen's hair with its breath, Ellen told it "you can go straight back to Hell you ugly bitch" before using both her and Jo's fingers to push the detonator, blowing up the building and killing herself and the hellhounds.
In My Heart Will Go On, Ellen appeared as Bobby's wife. Due to Balthazar "unsinking" the Titanic, purportedly because of his hate of the movie and the Celine Dion song but actually, as part of a misguided plan, Ellen returns along with Jo and 50,000 other random people. Eventually, though, Balthazar set history right and re-sank the Titanic.
In The Mentalists, Ellen communicated to Dean spontaneously through a psychic. She told him that unless he told someone how bad things had become for him and began to trust someone again, she would kick his ass from beyond.
Ellen was both an intelligent, tough, experienced and capable hunter as well as a fiercely defensive maternal figure who was to be taken very seriously. Due to having gone through much in her life, Ellen was very protective of and determined to preserve the things she still had; most of all her daughter Jo. Due to this, Ellen initially tried to keep Jo from following in her father's footsteps as a hunter to avoid losing her the same way; but Ellen eventually let Jo hunt with her as her partner and equal upon realising she couldn't stop Jo doing what she wanted.
Powers and Abilities
- Expert Hunting Abilities - Ellen possessed an expert level of hunting abilities by the end of her life.
- Skilled Hand-to-Hand Combatant - A seasoned hunter, Ellen proved herself able to briefly hold her own against a younger, more able bodied army veteran.
- Mortality - As a human, Ellen was mortal and vulnerable to injuries and death.
- Season 2
- Season 4
- It's A Terrible Life (mentioned only)
- Season 5
- Season 6
- Season 7
- The Mentalists (mentioned only)
- Season 12
- Celebrating The Life Of Asa Fox (mentioned only)
- Season 15
- Inherit the Earth (flashback only)
- Supernatural: Nevermore (non-canon)
- Ellen is an old acquaintance of John Winchester's, but before his death hadn't spoken to him for a long time.
- The writers named her for actress Ellen Barkin.
- "Ellen" is derived from a Grecian word meaning "light". Her surname is a female name meaning "warrior".
- Unlike most female characters, Ellen was quite popular among female fans.
- Ellen was planned to return in Season 3, but due to the writer's strike and Samantha Ferris declining on the basis that the appearance would cost her work and money, she was cut. Ferris also worried that her character would be killed off if she accepted an appearance in the third-season finale.