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What are you doing here?
Death and me need a word. Been trying her party-line, but she's ignoring me. I hate that.
Sam and the Shadow meet for the first time
in Unity
Billie will honor her promise. God, Amara -- they die. And you, you can go back to sleep.
And if you're lying?
I guess you have two choices. Give me the book -- maybe we all win. But you kill me, we lose... And you will never go back to sleep.
Sam reaches an understanding with the Shadow
in Unity

The Standoff in Death's Reading Room is a standoff between hunter Sam Winchester and the entity known as the Shadow in Death's Reading Room.



After the Nephilim Jack Kline loses his soul,[1][2] God returns to off the Winchesters a way to kill him[3] in revenge for the death of Mary Winchester[4] using the Equalizer, a gun created by Chuck himself. Having come to the conclusion that he is in fact a monster, Jack resigns himself to allowing Dean to kill him while Sam realizes that Chuck wants it for his perfect story and is counting upon Dean's desire for revenge. However, Dean refuses to kill Jack despite Chuck's promises to resurrect his mother in exchange and Team Free Will realizes that Chuck has only been using and manipulating them this whole time. With the Winchesters refusing to cooperate, Chuck smites Jack before Sam shoots Chuck in the shoulder with the Equalizer. Fed up, Chuck declares the story to be over and with a snap of his fingers, turns day into night and rips Hell open,[3] throwing open every door in Hell in the process, including the door to Lucifer's Cage.[5] However, the Winchesters manage to avert this Ghostpocalypse.[6][7]

Although the Winchesters believe the threat to be over after the Ghostpocalypse,[7] unbeknownst to them, God soon after begins planning his ultimate ending[8] which involves the brothers ultimately killing each other.[9] Weakened after being shot by Sam with the Equalizer,[3][6] God is eventually able to heal the wound and depart the Earth after convincing Sam to give up on hope.[10] God subsequently begins destroying the Multiverse.[11]

Once God has left the Earth, Billie approaches Jack in the Empty[10] and resurrects him to kill God. After completing the first step of Billie's plan by killing all of the surviving Grigori and consuming their hearts, Jack's resurrection is revealed to the Winchesters and Castiel and Jack tells them that he can become strong enough to kill God.[12] Billie subsequently reveals that Chuck is destroying all other worlds and that according to Chuck's Death Book, Sam and Dean also have a role as the Messengers of God's Destruction.[11] Shortly thereafter, Billie sends them to find the Occultum which sends Jack to the Garden of Eden where his human soul is restored. During this time, Castiel travels to the Empty to ask the demon Ruby about the location of the Occultum where he meets with the Shadow. The Shadow reveals to Castiel that it is working with Billie because she has promised to put it back to sleep,[13] but the encounter shakes the Shadow's faith in Billie's trustworthiness.[14]

After God finishes destroying the Multiverse, Billie gives Jack his final instructions[15] which sends Dean and Jack to meet Adam, the First Man and the true architect behind the plan to kill God.[14] However, the revelation that Jack won't survive killing God and Amara,[16][15] causes Sam to remain behind in order to search for another solution. Unconvinced of Billie's plan, Sam locates the Key to Death in the Men of Letters bunker with Castiel's help in order to go to Death's Reading Room and ask Billie more about it.[14]


Entering Death's Reading Room, Sam finds the bodies of several dead Reapers lying throughout and the screams and death of another Reaper. Following the begging of a male Reaper, Sam finds him begging to the Shadow, in the form of the demon Meg, that Billie won't come. Reluctantly, the Reaper desperately prays to Billie who doesn't answer, causing the Shadow to snap the Reaper's neck with telekinesis.

As Sam begins sneaking away, the Shadow senses his presence and transports Sam in front of it with a snap of the Shadow's fingers. Sam is confused by the appearance of Meg, but the Shadow explains that Meg is still dead and that it's just borrowing her face "because really, I'm Empty." Sam realizes that he's facing the Shadow which the being confirms and explains that it needs a word with Billie, but she has been ignoring it which it hates. Sam questions why the Shadow is looking for Billie and it explains that the Empty was supposed to belong to it with not even God holding sway although this was actually "sweet little lies."

The Shadow reveals that when Billie takes over, she was supposed to fix this problem,[14] but Castiel's visit to the Empty to see Ruby[13] had caused the Shadow to develop trust issues with Billie. Sam is shocked to learn that Billie wants to take over which the Shadow confirms, stating that Billie wants to become the new God. The Shadow explains that once Billie wants to return things to "the good-old days" and that once she takes over she will make it so that it is "everyone back to where they belong -- realities, dimensions, graves. What should be dead dies, angels off Earth, demons back to Hell and I go back to sleep." However, the Shadow now distrusts that Billie is telling the truth about sending it back to sleep as she promised.

The Shadow recognizes who Sam is and reveals that the book in front of it is Chuck's Death Book which Sam is in. Sam is surprised to see the book and asks the Shadow if it has read the book, but it explains that only Billie can read the book. However, Billie has always talked about how Sam should be "so dead" except for the fact that Billie needs him. As a result, in an attempt to draw Billie out, the Shadow begins causing Sam intense pain.

To stop the Shadow, Sam claims that Billie sent him. The Shadow expresses doubt about this, pointing out that Sam is saying a lot of dumb stuff for a supposed emissary of Death. Sam claims that they are all trying to beat God which doesn't leave a whole lot of time for questions. Sam tells the Shadow that Billie sent him to get the book, but she didn't tell him why. The Shadow asks where Billie is and Sam tells it that Billie is on Earth and realizes that it can't go there. The Shadow confirms this, stating that God made it so that the Shadow can only go to Earth if it's summoned as a protective measure.

Sam lies that Billie can't leave Earth either due to the plan and so she sent Sam in her stead with a message that Billie will honor her promise and that God and Amara will both die and the Shadow can go back to sleep. The Shadow questions what will happen if Sam is lying and Sam reminds it that the Shadow has two choices: give him the book and maybe they all win or kill him and they lose which means that the Shadow will never go back to sleep. The Shadow agrees and allows Sam to take Chuck's Death Book back to Earth while it returns to the Empty.[14]


Returning to the Men of Letters bunker, Sam learns from Castiel that Amara is holding God prisoner in anticipation of their plan to kill him, although Amara believes that they just intend to trap her brother. Now aware of the truth thanks to the Shadow, Sam informs Castiel that they can't allow Billie's plan to go through due to the consequences to everyone that they have saved if Billie takes power along with the fact that it will kill Jack. Although Dean's rage and desire for revenge causes him to nearly go through with the plan anyway, as per Chuck's plan to get the Winchesters to kill each other, Sam convinces Dean to stop.[14]

After teleporting Jack to the Empty to detonate safely, Billie confirms that the Shadow had told Sam the truth about her plans and that she had in fact been lying to and manipulating everyone, including the Shadow. Billie tries to recover Chuck's Death Book, but is forced to retreat after being mortally wounded by Dean with Death's Scythe. The Shadow's incursion into Death's Reading Room causes Billie to ward it against the being, knowing that it is angry and will want revenge. However, Castiel sacrifices himself to summon the Shadow to Earth, allowing it to absorb her into the Empty.[17]