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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: On the Head of a Pin

Head-Pin.jpgLet's start with a short discussion of the episode title.

In case you don't know where it comes from, it's actually got a couple of different meanings. First, there's the rhetorical question "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" Good discussion on Wiki about the phrase, and how it ties into middle ages angelology.

You may not have thought about the homage to Clive Barker, though. Pinhead was a character from the Hellraiser movie series. If you think I'm stretching it a little, check out the Wiki entry, and let me know if you still think that.

Let the recap begin

Castiel is at the scene of a horrific car accident. It has just happened, the horns and alarms are still blaring. A blonde woman lies at the center, a huge gash at her throat, in the shape of a crystal - in fact, it's in the shape of the "grace" we saw in the episode "Heaven and Hell" Cas confirms it by saying "Goodbye, sister." The cops arrive, and survey the scene. The camera zooms out, and we see the burn marks from a huge set of wings extending out from the body. Who knew angels had implants?

Dead friends

Sam and Dean are headed to Cheyenne, where Ruby has tracked down some leads. Dean is upset about Pamela. Sam wants him to get angry.

Which he does, as soon as they arrive at their motel, and find angels there. They need Dean, and Dean isn't happy. Seven angels have been murdered, and Cas and Uriel don't know who's doing it. Dean thinks they want the Winchesters to hunt the demon.


They want Dean to torture Alistair to get the information from him. And Dean has no choice but to accept, as the angels teleport him away, leaving an angry and frustrated Sam behind.

Alistair in chains

The angels have Alistair in a powerful Devil's Trap. Dean again refuses, but Cas tells him that they need him to do this. Dean asks to talk to Cas alone, so Uriel goes off to seek revelation, and maybe an open Krispy Kreme shop, at Dean's request. Uriel is amused at Dean's disrespect.

As he leaves, Dean says, "You guys don't walk enough. You're going to get flabby."
Cas doesn't respond. Dean says, "You know, I'm beginning to think Chuckles has a better sense of humor than you."

"Uriel's the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone," Castiel says.

Dean wants to know why Uriel seems to be in charge now. Cas says he's been demoted. His superiors think he's becoming too close, too involved, with humans, and it's impairing his judgment. Dean again asks that he not be forced to torture Alistair, but Cas tells him he's been told it's necessary.

Dean goes to work, slowly

When Alistair sees Dean, he breaks into song. Dean ignores him, and takes the cover off his torture tools. Alistair thinks it's funny that Dean has been chosen to torture him. Dean tells him he has one chance to tell who's killing the angels.

"Or what?" Alistair asks. "You'll work me over? Or... maybe... you don't want to. Maybe, you're a little scared to."

"I'm here, aren't I," Dean asks.

"Not entirely. You left part of yourself back in the pit. Let's see if we can, get the two of you back together again. Shall we?"

Alistair asks if Dean wants revenge. When Dean doesn't respond, he says, "No? Then how about all the things I did to your daddy?"

Ruby's back

Ruby arrives at Sam's room. She thinks things are just like they should be. Alistair captured, Dean tortures him, angels get the info.

"He can't do it," Sam says.

"Look, I get it, you don't want him going all torture-master again..." Ruby says.

"No, I mean he can't - do it. He can't get the job done. Something happened to him downstairs, Ruby. He's not what he used to be, he's not strong enough."

"And you are?"

"I will be," Sam replies.

Alistair tortures Dean

While Dean delays, Alistair talks about torturing John. He had John on the rack for a century in Hell's time, but he never broke. Alistair says John was special, the stuff of heroes.

"And then came Dean. Ah, Dean Winchester. I thought I was up against it again. But, Daddy's little girl, he broke. He broke in thirty. Just not the man Daddy wanted you to be," Alistair says.

Dean tells him that even in Hell he could dream, and this is what he dreamed of.

"Let's get started," Dean says, as he injects Alistair with Holy Water.

Outside the room, Cas can hear Alistair's groans.

So why is Alistair so anxious to have Dean torture him? Is it just because he knows how it tortures Dean to have to relive his time torturing in Hell? Could it be more than that?

What Sam did

Ruby works a spell that reveals where the angels are. They aren't trying to cover their tracks.

"Ruby, it's been weeks. I need it." Sam, you randy dude, you!

"You don't sound too happy about it," Ruby says.

"You think I want to do this?" Sam says. Well, yeah, actually, Sam we do think that. "This is the last thing I ... but I need to be strong enough."

So Ruby climbs on top of him, and says, "It's okay. It's okay, Sammy, you can have it." She kisses him, and we get a soft fade to a commerci.... no, wait, what?! What's she doing with that knife? She cuts her arm, as Sam begins to breathe heavily. He watches, then eagerly begins drinking the blood from her arm.

Sam, you're a bad boy. This is not good at all.

And Ruby gives him a knowing little smile.

A new animal

Alistair is still holding out. Dean coats a knife in holy water, then stabs it into Alistair's gut. Alistair grits his teeth in pain, but says, "I carved you into a new animal, Dean. There is no going back."

"Maybe you're right," Dean says, his lip twitching. "But now it's my turn to carve." He twists the knife in Alistair's gut.

The camera pans to a plumbing shutoff valve. It begins to open, and some bolts on a pipe loosen, all with no one seen doing it. Water begins to drip down onto the occult circle around Alistair, beginning to wash a section away.

Anna's return

Outside the room, the lights flicker. Anna is here. Cas tells her they are still under orders to kill her. She says that she doesn't think he'll try, and asks where Uriel is. Cas says that he's receiving revelation.

"Right," she says. "Why are you letting Dean do this?"

"He's doing God's work."

Anna says they have to stop him. "Before you ruin the only real weapon we have."

"Who are we to question the will of God?" Cas asks.

"Unless this isn't his will."

"Then where do the orders come from?"

"I don't know, one of our superiors maybe. But not him."

Anna tells him that what he's feeling is doubt. She tells him that he's afraid, and puts her hand on his. He looks at her hand.

"Together?" He jerks his hand away. "I am nothing like you. You fell! Go!"

What Dean really did

Alistair continues to be tortured, but does more torturing of his own. He tells Dean that he doesn't know how bad it really was, and what Dean really did for the demons, and the reason Lilith wanted him in Hell.

Dean tells him to shut up, and then makes him, by pouring salt down his throat.

Cut to Sam driving to help Dean. His eyes are nearly black.

Alistair is still hanging tough. Dean tells him he's just getting started.

"You know, it was supposed to be your father. He was supposed to bring it on," Alistair says. "But in the end, it was you," he laughs.

"Bring what on?" Dean asks, as he pours salt on his wet knife.

Alistair tells him that when he first sliced into human flesh in Hell, that was the first seal.

"You're lying," Dean says, and turns his back.

"And it is written, 'The first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell. As he breaks, so shall it break,'" Alistair quotes. "We had to break the first seal before we broke the others, it's the only way to get the dominoes to fall right. Topple the one at the head of the line. When we win, when we bring on the Apocalypse and burn this Earth down, we'll owe it all to you, Dean Winchester."

"No, I don't think you are lying. But even if the demons do win, you won't be there to see it." He turns with his bloody, salty knife in hand.

Alistair is standing right behind him. The circle has been broken, and he's free. Alistair proceeds to beat the crap out of Dean, finally picking him up and choking him.

Alistair is attacked from behind by Castiel, and stabbed in the chest with the salty knife.

"Oh, almost. Looks like God is on my side today," Alistair says. Castiel psychokinetically begins turning the knife toward Alistair's heart, but Alistair reaches up, and slowly pulls it from his body. They slug it out while Dean remains unconscious. Alistair eventually wins, but he doesn't know how to kill Castiel. Instead, he begins an incantation to send him back to Heaven.

Cavalry Sam

Sam arrives, and mentally pins Alistair to the wall. He questions him about the angel killings, torturing Alistair psychically. Alistair says he doesn't know who is killing the angels, but says that if it was Lilith, it wouldn't be 7 dead, it would be hundreds or thousands. Sam lets up on him. Alistair catches his breath.

"Oh, go ahead, send me back, if you can."

Sam smiles. "I'm stronger than that now. Now I can kill." Cas looks startled.

And then Sam proves it, killing Alistair without even a nose bleed or headache.

Cut to Dean in the hospital, on a respirator. Sam is beside him, distraught, when Castiel arrives. Castiel nods at him, and waits for him in the hall. Sam wants Dean healed, but Castiel can't. Sam blames the angels, Castiel tries to deny that it was their fault. Sam points out that the demons aren't killing the angels. Cas thinks Alistair was lying, but Sam says, "No, he wasn't."

Walking blasphemy

Later, Cas meets Uriel at a park bench. What is it with angels and park benches, anyway? Uriel has received revelation from their superiors. They are supposed to stop hunting the demon committing the murders. Uriel thinks something is wrong in Heaven.

Cas suggests that maybe demons aren't killing the angels. Maybe the garrison is being punished for losing the war. Or maybe God isn't giving the orders any more. Maybe something is wrong.

"Well, I won't wait to be gutted," Uriel says, and leaves.

Cas goes to the house with the Devil's Trap, and outside, calls for Anna. When she shows, he tells her he's considering disobedience.

"For the first time, I feel..." he starts.

"It gets worse," Anna says. She puts a hand on his shoulder, and he just looks at it.

"That's right, you're too good for my help," she says bitterly. "I'm just trash, walking blasphemy."

"Anna, I don't know what to do," Cas says. "Please tell me what to do."

"Like the old days? No, I'm sorry. It's time to think for yourself." She leaves, and Cas looks down, noticing a valve on a water fountain. Hmmm.


Inside the house, Cas examines the trap. He looks up and sees the leaky pipe. Pensive, he turns a valve psychokinetically.

"You called? What do you say, Castiel?" Uriels steps into the room. "Will you join me? Will you fight with me?"

Castiel remarks how it's strange that something as simple as a leaky pipe can undo the work of angels, who themselves are the "agents of fate."

Uriel says that Alistair must have been more powerful than they thought. Castiel disagrees, he assembled the trap himself. No demon could escape it. He asks for Uriel to tell the truth, out of respect for their friendship and history together.

"The truth is," Uriel says, as a gleaming sword slides from his sleeve. "The only thing that can kill an angel, is another angel."

Uriel explains that he broke the trap. It was inconvenient for Alistair to have been captured. Alistair was supposed to have escaped and killed Dean. Uriel has been trying to convert the angels to rebel against God. He's jealous of humans, who he thinks are God's favorites. He wants Lucifer to regain power. He thinks Lucifer was punished for taking the side of the angels, and refusing to bow to humanity.

Uriel has been killing the angels that don't join his cause. Others have. He wants Cas to join them also.

"Help me bring on the Apocalypse. All you have to do is be unafraid."

"For the first time, in a long time, I am," Cas replies, and punches Uriel, causing him to drop the blade.

They fight, but Uriel gets the upper hand.

"You can't win, Uriel. I still serve God," Cas says.

"You haven't even met the man!" Uriel replies. "There is no will." He punches Cas. "No wrath." He punches Cas again. "There is no God."

Anna steps up behind Uriel.

"Maybe, maybe not. But there's still me," she says, as she stabs Uriel with the blade he dropped. Uriel dies spectacularly, leaving angel wing burn marks beside his body.

Too big

At the hospital, Dean has woken. Cas tells him that he needs to be more careful.

"You need to learn how to manage your damn Devil's trap," Dean replies.

"That's not what I mean," Cas says. "Uriel is dead."

"Was it the demons?" Dean asks.

"It was disobedience. He was working against us."

"Is it true?" Dean asks. "That I broke the first seal? Did I start all this?"

"Yes," Cas says. What he says next is devastating.

"When we discovered Lilith's plan for you, we laid siege to Hell. And we fought our way to get to you, before you -"

"Jump-started the Apocalypse?"

"And we were too late."

"Why didn't you just leave me there then?"

"It's not blame that falls on you, Dean. It's fate. The righteous man that begins it, is the only one that can finish it. You - have to stop it."

"Lucifer? The Apocalypse? What does that mean?"

Castiel is silent, and shifts in his seat uncomfortably.

"Hey! Don't you go disappearing on me, you son-of-a-bitch. What does that mean?"

"I don't know."


"I don't. Dean, they don't tell me much. I know, our fate rests with you."

"Then you guys are screwed. I can't do it, Cas. It's too big. Alistair was right, I'm not all here, I'm not strong enough. I guess I'm not the man either of my dad's wanted me to be. Find someone else. It's not me."

Posted by Miller on March 20, 2009 7:23 AM
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