When The Levee Breaks is the 21st episode of Season 4. It aired on May 7th, 2009.


Dean Purgatory Blade.png There was something about being there... It felt pure.

This episode summary is an official CW press release. It may contain errors.

Dean and Bobby (guest star Jim Beaver) lock Sam in Bobby's panic room so he can detox from the demon blood. However, as Bobby sees more seals are being broken he tells Dean they should let Sam out to help them fight the impending apocalypse. Dean disagrees and goes to Castiel (guest star Misha Collins) for help. Sam and Dean have a big blowout confrontation.


Dean and Bobby lure and lock Sam in Bobby's Panic Room in order to help him withdraw from the effects of the demon blood. Sam starts to hallucinate — first he imagines he is being tortured by Alastair. Next he is visited by his fourteen-year old self who accuses him of abandoning his hope of being normal, and brings up his guilt of Jess' death. The hallucination then says maybe Sam just can't deny what's inside him, and the child's eyes turn yellow like Azazel.

Sam's 14 yr-old self says maybe he can't escape what's inside of him.

Meanwhile, Rufus Turner rings Bobby with news of more of The 66 Seals being broken. Bobby challenges Dean about whether they are doing the right thing, and whether they should let Sam go after Lilith to stop the Apocalypse.


Sam's figment of Mary tells him he's being brave and practical.

Still in Bobby's Panic Room, Sam sees his mother, who says she understands what he is doing and gives him support and tells him not to let Dean get in his way.

Dean calls on Castiel, who tells Dean that Sam could possibly kill Lilith, but that consuming enough Demon Blood to do so would make Sam inhuman. Castiel says Dean can be the one to stop the Apocalypse, rather than Sam, and asks if Dean will do it. Dean agrees and swears fealty and obedience to God and the angels.


Bobby and Dean have to pry Sam off the wall after he was flung around by an unseen force.

Dean talks to Bobby about his newly sworn allegiance, which Bobby doesn't understand. Dean tells him it's better to work with angels than let Sam trust a demon. Bobby understands just as everything goes quiet... Too quiet. They go down to the panic room to see Sam twitching on the floor. Dean suspects that Sam is faking it, thinking he'd do anything. They realize Sam isn't faking it when he is flung around the panic room by the demon blood. Dean and Bobby handcuff him to the bed. After they leave, Sam hallucinates Dean is taunting him and calling him a monster. At the same time, the real Dean and Bobby discuss the situation. Bobby reluctantly suggests to him that maybe they are killing Sam with the "cold turkey" approach, and that maybe he would make an even better soldier if he "had what he needs." Dean says he'd rather have Sam die human than turn him into a monster.


Bobby tries to persuade Sam not to leave.

That night, unbeknownst to Sam, Castiel comes and uses his powers to release Sam's bonds and open the door to the panic room. A very sick Sam manages to slip out of the house, but is confronted by Bobby, armed with a shotgun, as he attempts to steal a car from the yard. Sam challenges Bobby's resolve to shoot him. Bobby pleads with him to come back inside, explaining that they are only trying to help him. Sam tearfully puts the barrel of the gun to his own chest and says, "Then shoot." Bobby hesitates, and Sam grabs the gun and knocks him out with it. He steals the car and escapes.


Anna calls Castiel out on his sabotage and is captured for her effort.

Anna visits Castiel, and confronts him over his actions, saying Sam's actions have been even worse than they thought, and that Dean was rightfully trying to stop him. Castiel sadly replies that he is acting on orders, and tells her that she really shouldn't have come. Two other angels appear and take her captive.


Castiel is troubled by his part in Dean's oath, Sam's escape and Anna's capture.

Sam meets up with Ruby, after making major efforts to throw Dean of his trail, and drinks more of her blood. Ruby tells Sam there are only two or three seals left to be broken. She says only "Lucifer's first" can break the final seal — and that is Lilith. This renews Sam's desire to kill Lilith. She says she has a lead on a demon close to Lilith, and she knows where this demon can be found.

As Sam and Ruby prepare to go capture Lilith's cohort, Dean arrives. He catches Ruby in the room alone and tries to kill her, but Sam returns in time to stop him. Sam and Dean start to argue, Dean again trying to convince him that Ruby is a poisonous manipulator. However, Sam cannot be moved, and begs Dean to just trust him this time. Dean refuses, eventually telling him that he has no idea what he's doing.

Dean intends to take Ruby out, once and for all.

The argument gets more heated and bitter until Dean finally, tearfully, calls Sam a monster. Sam pauses, then sends Dean half-way across the room with a crushing blow. A bitter brawl ensues, which ends when Sam overwhelms Dean and nearly strangles him to the point of unconsciousness, but he stops short.

As he turns to leave, Dean admonishes him with the same words John Winchester used so many years ago — that if Sam leaves he should never come back. Sam gives him one last look, then walks out, leaving Dean lying in the ruins of the room.


Main CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Featured Supernatural BeingsEdit


  • Sam was locked in the Panic Room in the previous episode.
  • Alastair, Azazel, and Mary Winchester all appear as Sam's hallucinations.
  • Rufus Turner calls Bobby in this episode. He was first introduced in Time Is On My Side.
    • The seals Rufus Turner reports being broken are: ten species extinct in Key West, fishing crew of fifteen goes blind in Alaska, and a teacher in New York kills 66 students, all in one day.
  • This episode is the penultimate before the season finale, setting up the events of Sam's downfall and the consequences: freeing Lucifer and jump starting the Apocalypse.
  • Dean's last line to Sam is exactly the same line that John apparently said to Sam, when he left for Stanford. His usage of words only steer Sam to leave, just as with John.


  • Antagonists: Sam and Dean Winchester (they are each other's antagonists), Ruby
  • Mary's hairstyle is noticeably different from that of her previous appearances.
  • The title is a reference to the Led Zeppelin song of the same name.
  • The last part of the previous episode was meant to be the beginning of this episode.
  • This is one of few episodes not to involve a death of any kind.


(Sam is desperately screaming in the panic room)

  • Dean: How long's this going to go on?
  • Bobby: Hang on, let me look it up in my demon detox manual. Oh wait. No one ever wrote one. No telling how long it will take. Or even if Sam will survive this.

  • Bobby: Now correct me if wrong, you willingly signed up to be the angels' bitch?

(Dean cuts him an icy look)

  • Bobby: I'm sorry. You prefer "sucker?" After every thing you've said about them, now you trust them?
  • Dean: Come on, give me a little credit, Bobby. I've never trusted them less! I mean they come on like shady politicians from Planet Vulcan!!
  • Bobby: Well then why in the hell...
  • Dean: Because what other options do I have?? It's either trust the angels, or let Sammy trust a demon!
  • Bobby: I see your point.

  • Dean: Cut the crap, you were going to tell me something.
  • Castiel: Nothing of import.
  • Dean: You got ass-reamed in Heaven, but it's "not of import"?

  • Sam: Did you bust me out of that room?
  • Ruby: How could I, Sam? The whole thing's engineered to bite me in the ass.

  • Dean (to Sam): If you walk out that door, don't you ever come back!


  • Alastair is the first to visit Sam in the panic room.
  • Sam hallucinates being tortured by Alastair, perhaps a remnant of having imagined what he did to break Dean in Hell.
  • Sam's young self feels betrayed by him.
  • Sam's hallucination of Mary supports him by telling him he's strong enough to turn their family curse into a gift, and that Dean is too weak to understand.
  • Sam screams for Dean and Bobby to help him.
  • Bobby and Dean decide that Sam needs to be restrained.
  • Sam's hallucination of Dean says he tried to pretend they were brothers, but always knew he was a monster.
  • Sam tells Bobby to shoot him if he wants to help him.
  • Castiel watches Anna be taken into the custody of the angels.
  • Sam braces for the one thing he dreaded Dean would say to him.
  • Dean tells Sam that if he really knows what he's doing, it means he's a monster.

International TitlesEdit

  • German: Wenn der Damm bricht (When the Levee breaks)


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