Jared Padalecki plays the part of Sam Winchester and Colin Ford plays the part of Young Sam Winchester on the TV series "Supernatural."
Dean Winchester is a fictional character and one of the two protagonists of The CW Television Network's Supernatural. He is portrayed by Jensen Ackles. Dean hunts demons, spirits and other supernatural creatures with his younger brother Sam and is occasionally assisted by his close friend Castiel, an angel who joins them in season four.
Dean Winchester was born on January 24, 1979 to John and Mary Winchester in Lawrence, Kansas. He is the couple's first child, four years older than his younger brother Sam. He is named after his maternal grandmother, Deanna Campbell. When he was only four years old on November 2, 1983, his mother Mary was killed in Sam's nursery by the demon Azazel. Infant Sam is saved by the ensuing fire when his father takes him out of his crib and gives him to Dean, who then carries him outside while their father unsuccessfully tries to rescue their mother. After that night Dean has felt responsible for Sam, and was always given the job to take care of him while they were growing up. Dean's father John raised him and Sam as hunters of the supernatural. During Dean's childhood John would be away "hunting" a week or two at a time. John told Dean that his little brother's life was in his hands, and the term "Watch out for Sammy" became his life.
As the season begins, Dean, at age 26, is a hunter; he hunts and kills supernatural monsters. Usually, he is with his father John, but sometimes goes by himself. When his father goes missing, Dean asks for Sam's help to find him. They go in search of their father, saving people from the supernatural along the way, but at the end of the first episode, Sam's girlfriend Jessica Moore dies the same way their mother did.
In the episode "Skin", Dean and Sam battle a shapeshifter responsible for a string of brutal murders in St. Louis, Missouri. During the course of the episode, the shapeshifter assumes Dean's form, causing police to believe that Dean is responsible for the murders. However, Dean kills the shapeshifter while it is still in his form; the authorities officially declare him dead and pin the murders on him.
John finally contacts the boys, revealing that he has been away from them because he is tracking the demon that killed their mother. His affection for his sons could be used against him, so he wants them away from him. However, the family unites as they come into possession of the Colt, a special revolver which John says can kill anything, including demons. The season finale concludes with Sam, Dean, and John escaping from their clash with Azazel, the yellow-eyed demon. While Sam is driving an injured Dean and John to a hospital, a demon-possessed driver drives his semi truck into the Impala Sam is driving, causing massive damage to the car and the Winchesters inside.
All three of the Winchesters survive the wreck, although Dean is more severely injured than his father or brother. In the season premiere "In My Time of Dying," Dean is in a coma. A reaper named Tessa tries to convince him to move on and accept his death as it is his time to die, and warns him that, if he refuses, he will most likely become one of the vengeful spirits he and his family have so often fought. In order to save him, John makes a deal with Azazel, trading his life for Dean's. When Dean wakes from his coma, he has no memory of his time with Tessa; he does, however, comment later that, when he woke up, it felt wrong. When John asks Sam to get him quote "a cup of caffeine" he whispers something in Dean's ear which the audience cannot hear, then hands the gun to Azazel. His father dies immediately afterward, and is later revealed to be in Hell.
Throughout the first half of the second season, Dean struggles with the death of his father. He is also haunted by his father's last words to him. At the midpoint of the season, it is revealed that John told Dean that Azazel intends to turn Sam evil and, if Dean cannot save Sam, Dean must kill his brother.
During an investigation in Baltimore, Maryland in "The Usual Suspects", Dean is arrested in connection with another series of murders. It is revealed that Dean has a police record, with charges over the years including credit card fraud, breaking and entering, and grave desecration. Although Sam and Dean are able to prove that the murders were actually committed by one of the detectives on the case, whose partner lets the brothers escape. Since the authorities now know that Dean is not dead, he is again wanted for the murders committed by the shapeshifter. In "Nightshifter", a team of FBI agents, led by Special Agent Victor Henricksen, catches up with Dean and Sam in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where an attempted bank robbery and several more murders are added to Dean's list of supposed crimes, thanks to another shapeshifter.
At the end of "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1", Sam is stabbed by Jake Talley, another of Azazel's "special children", and dies in Dean's arms. Crushed by Sam's death, Dean summons a Crossroads demon and trades his soul for Sam's life. The conditions of Dean's deal are: Dean gets one year of life, at the end of which he dies and goes to Hell. If he tries to break the deal in any way, Sam dies. Dean wants to keep the knowledge of his deal from Sam, but Sam quickly figures it out and vows to get Dean out of the deal, no matter what. As the second season ends, Dean kills Azazel with the Colt, but not before Azazel has a gate to Hell opened, allowing hundreds of demons to escape from Hell as well as their father, with whom they share an emotional moment before he disappears in a glow of light.
In the third season premiere "The Magnificent Seven," Dean decides to make the best of his final year, indulging in many pleasures and refusing to even think about saving himself, while Sam tries desperately to find a loophole in the Crossroads demon's deal. While searching for escaped demons to send back to Hell, Sam encounters Ruby, a mysterious blonde who assists him but who also informs him that, for some reason, demons are killing all of his mother's old acquaintances. Sam learns that Ruby is a demon, and she promises him help in freeing Dean from his contract. She fixes the Colt so that it can again kill anything and also shows them a knife in her possession that can kill demons. Later, Dean and Sam learn from Ruby that all demons used to be human, but had their humanity is eventually burned away during their time in Hell.
During the course of the season, the brothers meet another woman, Bela Talbot. Bela, who is unscrupulous, acquires magical objects and sells them for a large profit. In "Dream a Little Dream of Me", when Bobby falls into a coma, Sam and Dean investigate the murder of a scientist. In the course of viewing Dean's dreams, it becomes clear that Dean believes that Sam was their father's favorite, but only thought of Dean as a tool. Dean encounters a demonic version of himself in a nightmare, which shocks him into trying to break his deal. After waking up, Dean admits to Sam that he doesn't want to die. Meanwhile, Bela steals the Colt.
In "Mystery Spot", Sam is forced to relive the same day, repeatedly. On each new day, Dean dies a different way despite Sam's efforts to save him. Sam realizes that the culprit is the Trickster, a villain from Season 2. They finally escape the day, but Dean dies and doesn't come back. Sam spends months trying to hunt down the Trickster, who reveals that he has been trying to get Sam to understand that he and Dean can't keep making sacrifices for each other, and that Dean is going to die no matter what Sam does. The Trickster allows Sam to escape the alternate reality he has trapped him in. He is warned by Ruby that he might not make it back from Hell.
In "Jus In Bello", the FBI and Agent Henricksen capture Sam and Dean, thanks to a tip from Bela. While Sam and Dean are in jail, a host of demons come to kill them. Ruby comes to help them, but is furious to learn that they have lost the Colt. She says that she knows of a spell that will destroy all the demons nearby, including herself. However, they will need the heart of a virgin. Sam and the virgin, Nancy, agree to the plan, but Dean refuses to let her die. Dean's plan to exorcise the demons works, but one demon manages to escape and tells Lilith who, taking the form of a little girl, blows the police station up, killing everyone inside. Lilith, it turns out, wants to kill Sam, as she sees him as a rival. According to Azazel's plan, Sam was supposed to lead the demon army, but now Lilith is the leader of the demons.
Shortly before Dean's contract comes due, he learns from Bela that Lilith holds his contract; Bela had also made a deal with a demon, and she reveals this information before her contract expires. As the brothers search for Lilith with Bobby's help, Dean begins suffering nightmares and hallucinations of his hellish fate. When Lilith is located, the three head to New Harmony, Indiana, and Dean discovers that he now has the ability to see the faces of demons underneath their human hosts.
As Dean and Sam confront Lilith, Ruby appears and the three are chased into a room by a hellhound that has come for Dean. Dean quickly recognizes that Ruby's human host is now possessed by Lilith, not Ruby, but it is too late. A hellhound kills Dean and Lilith tries to kill Sam, only to discover that her demonic power has no effect on Sam. Lilith flees, leaving Sam alone with Dean's mutilated corpse. In the last scene of the season, Dean is shown in Hell, suspended in a void - apparently by chains and hooks through his flesh, crying out for help and for Sam.
The fourth season premiere, "Lazarus Rising", begins four months after the third season finale. Dean awakens to find himself buried and manages to dig himself out. Dean calls Sam, but finds his number disconnected. He calls Bobby, who hangs up on him, so Dean hotwires a parked car and drives to Bobby's house. Dean and Bobby track down Sam in a town right near where Dean was buried in a hotel, but he claims he did nothing to bring Dean back and is in town because he is searching for a demon. Dean tells Sam he remembers nothing from Hell.
The Winchesters track down whatever force ripped Dean from Hell. It is revealed that an angel named Castiel pulled Dean from Hell on God's command; Castiel tells Dean that God has work for him. In the episode "Wishful Thinking", Dean confesses that he does remember every second of Hell.
In the "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester", in the course of fighting off ghosts, Dean is told by Castiel of Lilith's plan to break the 66 seals and free Lucifer.
In "In the Beginning," Dean is transported back in time to Lawrence, Kansas in 1973. There, he meets younger versions of his father and mother, as well as his maternal grandfather Samuel and maternal grandmother Deanna (for whom he is named), and learns of a connection between Azazel and Mary. A causal loop is revealed in that the time-traveling Dean, by trying to stop Azazel in the past and change his future, actually made the demon aware of his family in the first place, setting in motion the events leading to the death of his parents, the corruption of his brother, and the life he tried to change, therefore setting up a predestination paradox. (However, it is implied by Castiel that the events would have happened anyway without his being there, as they were already destined.) Upon returning to the present, Dean is informed by Castiel that Sam is "going down a very dark road" and that, if Dean doesn't stop him, the angels will.
Dean follows Castiel's directions and witnesses Sam using his powers to exorcise a demon. Dean also learns of Ruby's return, and conveys the angel's warning to Sam. After Dean and Sam stop a rugaru in Missouri, Sam decides to stop using his powers.
In "Heaven and Hell", Dean reveals to Sam what happened to him in Hell; time flows differently there, so four months on Earth was forty years in Hell. During that time, he was put on the rack and "cut, carved, and torn" apart until there was nothing left of him, only to be made whole again just so the demons could start over on him. Dean reveals that, at the end of every day, the demon Alastair would offer to take him off the rack if Dean would put souls on it and torture them. Dean resisted for thirty years, but eventually gave in and spent a ten years torturing people in Hell to escape being tortured himself. In "Family Remains", Dean confesses to Sam that he enjoyed torturing souls, as he finally had the chance to dish out the same pain that he'd endured for the past thirty years.
The episode "After School Special" showed flashbacks of a teenage Dean and a pre-teen Sam while they are going to a high school. Dean was as promiscuous as ever when he was younger and the girl he was then dating told him that he acted cool when, in reality, he was a little boy who played with people's feelings to make himself feel better. Dean, clearly stung, from then on hated the school.
In the episode "On the Head of a Pin", Dean is pressed into service by Castiel and Uriel, who need him to torture Alastair for information about who is killing angels, since Dean was Alastair's "student" in Hell. Dean refuses at first, but eventually agrees. However, he only succeeds in getting Alastair to reveal that Dean himself was the first seal to break, by virtue of giving in and torturing souls in Hell. ("The first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell. As he breaks, so shall it break.") The distraction is enough for Alastair to free himself, the Devil's Trap set up by Castiel having been eroded by a leaking pipe. Alastair nearly kills Dean and then comes close to sending Castiel back to Heaven, but Sam arrives and kills Alastair shortly afterward. Later, as Dean recovers in the hospital, Castiel informs him about Uriel's betrayal; Uriel had been killing angels who did not join his cause to free Lucifer from Hell. Castiel also confirms Alastair's claim that Dean was the first seal, but adds that, because of this, Dean is the only man capable of averting the Apocalypse. However, Dean does not believe he is up to such a task and tells Castiel to find someone else as tears run down his face.
To put Dean back on the right path, Zachariah, Castiel's superior, re-writes Dean and Sam's memories to remove their knowledge of supernatural creatures, making them believe they are average people working regular jobs, and drops them in a haunted building. After the brothers proceed to defeat the ghost behind the hauntings, Zachariah restores Dean's memories to show him that hunting is in his blood. This renews Dean's resolve.
In "The Rapture", Dean witnesses Sam drink the blood of a demon he is about to kill. Later, Sam gets a request from Bobby to head to his house. Once there, Dean and Bobby trick Sam and lock him in the demon-proof panic room for his own safety as he detoxes from the demon blood.
While Sam is going through painful withdrawal symptoms from the demon blood, Dean asks Castiel for help. He takes an oath to serve God and the angels if it would mean that Sam wouldn't have to kill Lilith, to which Castiel says, "If that gives you comfort." Sam escapes the panic room after Castiel releases him, and Dean tracks him down to a hotel, despite Sam's efforts to shake him. They argue over whether or not Ruby is corrupting Sam, whether Dean is supposed to stop the Apocalypse, and whether Sam is turning into a monster. Dean yells at Sam by saying, "If you walk out that door, don't you ever come back"—the same ultimatum John gave Sam when he left for college years before, resulting in Sam's four-year estrangement from his father—after which Sam leaves the room.
In the fourth season finale "Lucifer Rising", the angels take Dean to a "safe" room, and Zachariah explains that they are preparing for the Apocalypse and will allow the final seal to be broken. They want Sam to kill Lilith as her death will break the final seal holding Lucifer, after which Dean will kill Lucifer and bring Paradise to Earth. Dean, shocked and horrified that the angels would allow the Apocalypse, asks Castiel for help; together they escape and meet the prophet Chuck Shirley to see where the final seal will be broken. As Castiel holds back the Archangels that start to descend, he sends Dean to Ilchester, Maryland to stop Sam from killing Lilith. Ruby prevents Dean from interfering and, after the final seal is broken, reveals that she has been working to free Lucifer the entire time. Dean manages to get to the two and then stabs Ruby to death with Sam's help. The season ends with a portal opening for Lucifer while Dean and Sam can only watch.
The fifth season begins right where Season 4 ends with the portal for Lucifer opening. As Lucifer escapes, the brothers are teleported into an airplane by an unknown force (later revealed to be God). Later, Dean is told by Zachariah that he is "Michael's Sword", meaning the Archangel Michael will use his body as a vessel to lead the forces of Heaven against Lucifer, but Dean must consent to this. Dean refuses and Castiel saves him when Zachariah tries to force Dean to agree by harming him and Sam.
In "Good God, Y'All!", Dean and Sam fight War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in a town where the people think that their neighbors are demons. Once the brothers cut the ring finger off of War, restoring the town to normal, Dean worries that Sam cannot control his urge to drink demon blood, and the brothers agree to go their separate ways because Sam is a liability with his demon bloodlust.
In "The End", Dean is transported forward in time by Zachariah, who wants Dean to see what the future will be like if continues to refuse giving his consent to Michael. He finds himself in the year 2014, eventually meeting up with his future self, as well as the survivors and victims of the Croatoan virus from Season 2. Dean finds out that Sam let Lucifer into his body, and this was the reason the world was in such disarray. Later, the future Dean is killed by Lucifer in Sam's body. After being told by his future self to accept Michael into his body, Dean is transported back to his own time, where he comes face-to-face with Zachariah; he again refuses to become Michael's vessel. In the end of the episode, the brothers meet back up again and decide that they should stay together, to "keep each other human."
In the episode "Changing Channels", it is revealed to Dean and Sam by The Trickster (who reveals that he is the Archangel Gabriel) that their relationship (Dean the older brother loyal to an absent father and Sam the younger brother who is rebellious of the father's plan) mirrors the relationship between Michael and Lucifer, and has been told to the angels since the beginning to bring about Judgment Day.
In "Abandon All Hope", Sam and Dean plan to find Lucifer and kill him, with help from Castiel, Jo, Ellen and Bobby. They find out that the Colt is in the possession of a demon named Crowley, who gives the Winchesters the gun to kill Lucifer and end the Apocalypse. The Winchesters then find out that Lucifer is one of five things in the universe that the Colt cannot kill, when Dean tries shooting Lucifer in the head with no effect. Having lost another plan, Dean becomes more disillusioned and hopeless, and in "Dark Side of the Moon" where, after spending time in Heaven and finding out God doesn't see the battle with Lucifer to be his problem, begins to see little reason to deny his destiny as Michael's vessel, deciding to take on the role at the end of the next episode "99 Problems". Before doing so, though, he visits former girlfriend Lisa Braeden (Season 3 "The Kids Are Alright"), confessing that when he dreams of being happy it's with her and her son Ben, and promising to get them protection for what's to come.
During the series' 100th episode "Point of No Return", Dean was preparing for his possession by Michael before being discovered by Sam and Castiel, who take him to Bobby's house. They convince him to allow them some more time in order to research another method of stopping Lucifer; however, the unexpected resurrection of their half-brother Adam, planned to be Michael's vessel, forces Sam, Bobby and Castiel to keep Adam and Dean from Zachariah. When Dean escapes and tries to lure the angels, both Castiel and Sam leave to find him, allowing Adam to be taken by angels. Despite Bobby and Castiel's insistence in keeping Dean from Zachariah, Sam allows him to try to rescue Adam. With Castiel removed, along with angel guards, the brothers attempt to rescue Adam, but Sam's ambush of Zachariah fails and Zachariah causes internal damage to both Adam and Sam to coerce Dean to consent to Michael. Ultimately, Dean relents, but after Zachariah summons Michael, Dean taunts Zachariah into sacrificing himself in order to allow Michael in. Zachariah angrily refuses, and Dean kills him and rushes out, unfortunately leaving Adam locked in the room with the approaching Michael. As they leave, Dean admits that he would have accepted Michael, but because of Sam's faith, he decides that he will "take the fight to them".
After being trapped in "Hammer of the Gods" by a group of gods bent on using them as bargaining chips in the upcoming Apocalypse, Dean and Sam learn from Gabriel that the cage Lucifer was sprung from was still open and, if they could get all four Horsemen's rings, they could put him back in and trap him again. He also claims that Lucifer has no knowledge that he can be trapped again. In "The Devil You Know", the demon Crowley returns and leads Dean to a confrontation with Brady, one of Sam's college friends who, in fact, was a demon "Handler" for Pestilence. Despite being beaten badly, Dean and Crowley trap Brady and are eventually able to get the location of Pestilence.
In "Two Minutes to Midnight", the brothers go after Pestilence and, with help of a nearly-human Castiel, take his ring. During the trip, Sam tells Dean that he believes the only way to trap Lucifer is to say yes and allow himself to be possessed, believing that he can overcome Lucifer long enough to throw himself into the trap. Crowley then takes Dean to Chicago, where they have located the final Horseman. In the midst of a massive storm, Dean confronts Death in a pizza parlor. Revealing that Lucifer controls him due to a spell, Death agrees to give Dean his ring with the explicit condition that Sam say yes so he can lure Lucifer into the trap, and that Dean allow his brother to jump into the pit. Dean reluctantly agrees and gets the ring and instructions from Death for how to use the four rings. Upon returning, Dean claims he lied to Death, but upon talking to Bobby it becomes clear that their last best chance may be to let Sam say yes, with Bobby asking Dean if he was more afraid to lose, or to lose his brother.
In "Swan Song", Dean relents and agrees to let Sam say yes. As Sam prepares to drink demon blood to become strong enough to take in Lucifer, he makes Dean promise that he won't attempt to come after him once he has jumped into the pit. Dean objects, but Sam insists, begging that he instead go to Lisa and try to live a normal, happy life. Dean promises he will do so, and after drinking the demon blood, the brothers go to confront Lucifer in Detroit. Despite Lucifer's revealing that he did indeed know about the brothers' plan to trap him again, Sam says yes, believing he can overcome him nonetheless. After taking over and briefly knocking Sam unconscious, Dean opens the portal to Lucifer's prison, and Sam wakes up and prepares to jump in. At the last moment, though, Lucifer reveals himself, claiming that "Sammy is long gone". After closing the trap, taking the rings, and briefly taunting Dean, Lucifer disappears.
As omens begin to signal the final battle, Dean calls Chuck to try to pin down the location of the final battle, which will occur in Stull Cemetery back in the brothers' hometown of Lawrence. While Castiel and Bobby seem despondent, believing the battle to be lost and further confrontation pointless, Dean vows to go to the fight between Lucifer and Michael (now possessing his half-brother Adam), claiming at the very least he "won't let his brother die alone". As Lucifer and Michael prepare to fight, Dean interrupts and drives the Impala into the graveyard. He attempts to reach out to both Sam and Adam, asking for five minutes with Sam, but is dismissed by both. Bobby and Castiel suddenly appear, and Castiel throws a Molotov cocktail with holy fire at Michael, burning him out and buying Dean five minutes. It comes at a high price; an enraged Lucifer snaps his fingers, making Castiel explode for interrupting the fight. Lucifer and Dean begin to fight, with Dean taking a beating. Lucifer continues beating Dean and, with Dean backed against the door of the Impala, prepares for a kill shot. However, at that moment, he catches a glimpse of a toy soldier that a young Sam had stuck in the Impala's ashtray, and the memories of his brotherhood with Dean help Sam to overpower Lucifer and take control of his body. Sam reopens the pit, and though Michael returns and attempts to stop him, Dean watches as Sam pulls Michael into the pit, which closes as they both fall in, trapping both in Hell.
A fully restored Castiel suddenly appears, claiming to have been resurrected by God. He heals Dean and plans on returning to Heaven and bringing new order now that Michael is gone. Dean claims that he will go after God next, but Castiel claims, before disappearing, that Dean only got what he wanted in the end: no Paradise, no Hell, more of the same-freedom over peace. After an emotional goodbye with Bobby (it is said in Chuck's epilogue that the two will not see each other for some time), Dean returns to Lisa Braeden as Sam had suggested. Dean is last seen sitting down to dinner with Lisa and her son Ben. Unknown to Dean, a streetlight just outside the home goes out, and Sam is inexplicably standing beneath it, watching the home with a blank look on his face.
The sixth season picks up a year later. Keeping the promise he made to Sam, Dean gives up the life of hunting and now lives with Lisa and her son Ben. After Dean became poisoned by a Djinn, begins hallucinating his worst fears. Sam saves Dean by injecting him with an antidote and later wakes up seeing Sam alive and well. Sam reluctantly tells Dean that he has been back for nearly a year while hunting with their grandfather, Samuel. After helping kill the Djinns, Dean declines returning to the life of hunting and decides to continue living with Lisa and Ben in order to keep them safe. Lisa tells Dean to return to the life of hunting and she and Ben will be there when he gets back.
In "Live Free or Twi-Hard", Sam and Dean investigate cases of missing girls who are obsessed with vampires. They stake out a bar that eventually leads them to the cause. Dean later crosses paths with a vampire that turns him into one. Expecting to have to be "put down", he goes to visit Lisa, but almost loses control while talking to her and flees. After being cured, he realises that Sam may possibly have let him be turned; but to an unknown end.
In "You Cant Handle the Truth", Dean and Sam investigate a town in Illinois, where everyone who has wished for truth not only received his wish, but has become insane and committed suicide. While initially believing that the Horn of Truth, an angelic weapon, is the culprit, Sam discovers the summoning ritual to Veritas, the pagan goddess of Truth. However, Dean unknowningly invokes her and is forced to deal with harsh truths from everybody; including Lisa, who calls about the events of last episode and ends up telling him not to ever come back. Questioning Sam, he believes he gets the truth from him about why he didn't help keep him from being turned, but when Veritas captures them on their raid of her property, she declares that Sam is inhuman, as no human is immune to her aura of truth. The brothers manage to dispatch her, but Dean holds Sam at knifepoint, demanding the truth. Sam admits his lack of emotion and fear, but Dean doesn't accept it and beats him unconscious. Dean learns from Castiel that Sam has no soul, also that Crowley was the one who brought Sam back from Hell. Crowley also says that the only way to get Sam's soul back is to help him find Purgatory. Dean and Sam attempt to capture Crowley to force him to give back Sam's soul. Crowley tells them that not only can't he get Sam's soul but also that Sam's soul has been tortured endlessly by Lucifer and giving Sam back his soul would leave him useless. Once learning this, Castiel kills Crowley, so Dean goes to see Death to have him bring back Sam's soul. Death agrees but only if Dean becomes Death for one day and never takes off his ring. Dean fails, but Death still agrees to return Sam's soul, since Dean learned about messing with the natural order.
With Sam's soul restored, Dean and Sam return to hunting, attempting to track down Eve- the 'mother' of all monsters- after she is released from Purgatory by dragons, but Dean becomes suspicious of Castiel after he discovers that Crowley is still alive despite Castiel allegedly torching Crowley's human bones. After Dean is forced to have Ben and Lisa's memory of him erased, he confronts Castiel about his actions, but is unable to stop Castiel from absorbing the souls of Purgatory and becoming the new God.
Trapped for options against the insane and god-like Castiel, Dean, Sam and Bobby attempt to summon and bind Death to order him to kill Castiel. Death refuses, but provides them with a means of performing a ritual to extract the Purgatory souls from Castiel. Unfortunately, Castiel's vessel has already been taken over by the Leviathans, God's prototype monsters, who seemingly kill Castiel before escaping.
Facing a new threat immune to their conventional weapons, Dean and Sam are left desperately struggling against the Leviathans, with matters being made worse when Bobby is killed by Dick Roman, the leader of the Leviathans. With Sam's sanity breaking down due to him experiencing halluciations of Lucifer based on his memory of his time in Hell, Dean attempts to continue their usual jobs- even teaming up with Elliot Ness during a time-travelling battle with the pagan god Chronos-, but Sam's sanity eventually reaches such a low point that Dean is forced to commit him to a psychiatric institution. Based on a card that he later learns was provided by Bobby's ghost- who has remained on Earth by 'bonding' to his flask-, Dean manages to find a healer for Sam in the form of Castiel, alive with no memory of his angelic past, but even the restored Castiel can only 'heal' Sam by taking Sam's mental damage onto himself.
Learning of the Leviathans' plans to turn humanity into the perfect food source, Dean and Sam mount a final offensive against Dick Roman after Castiel recovers enough to help them find a tablet containing the Word of God, which the prophet Kevin Tran is able to read, revealing that Leviathans can be killed by the bone of a righteous mortal soaked in the blood of the three fallen (Castiel the fallen angel, the Alpha Vampire, and Crowley the King of Hell). Armed with this weapon, and with Castiel's ability to perceive the true nature of each Leviathan, Dean is able to kill Dick, but he and Castiel are pulled in Purgatory as Dick dies.
After a year in Purgatory, Dean escapes with the aid of a vampire called Benny, who he subsequently restores to life with a ritual, but Castiel's fate is initially unknown. Reuniting with Sam and Kevin, Dean learns that Kevin has discovered another Word of God tablet containing a ritual that could seal the gates of Hell forever, but Kevin flees because he does not trust Dean to keep him safe. Despite this, Kevin and Dean eventually make contact again after Dean saves Kevin with the aid of the returned Castiel, Kevin continuing his research under the protection of Garth, who has taken over Bobby's former role as Hunter co-ordinator. Although Dean and Benny grow more distant after Sam learns of his existence, Dean stands by Benny when another hunter accuses him of murder.
Following a meeting with their temporally-displaced grandfather, Henry Winchester, Dean and Sam take custody of the archive of the Men of Letters, an organization dedicated to recording the supernatural before their destruction in the 1950s. With the archive resources and Kevin's translation of the tablet, Sam sets out to complete the three trials to seal the gates of Hell- killing a hellhound, freeing a deserving soul (Bobby) from Hell to ascend to Heaven, and curing a demon-, but Dean stops Sam when he learns that the trials will kill him, shortly before renegade angel Metatron seals the gates of Heaven using another tablet, banishing all the angels from Heaven and leaving Castiel and other angels merely human.
Dean is well-versed with multiple types of firearms; he prefers his Colt 1911 and sawed-off shotgun, but is proficient with most other weapons he might acquire. An expert marksman, he seldom misses his intended target and can efficiently put down anything vulnerable to bullets, as shown in the episode "Frontierland", where he shoots down a phoenix with one shot.
Dean is adept with martial arts and knife fighting, as well; he has subdued several human assailants with ease in multiple episodes and bested physically more powerful creatures, often unarmed or equipped with only a blade. In "Nightshifter", he killed a shapeshifter armed with a simple silver letter opener. In "Fresh Blood", he managed to subdue a vampire long enough to inject her with a shot of "dead man's blood". In "The Magnificent Seven", he fought and held off several demons by himself, armed only with a flask of holy water.
Highly resourceful, he frequently utilizes improvised weapons and explosive devices; in "Croatoan", he demonstrated knowledge of chemistry, constructing Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices, and in "Phantom Traveler", he revealed knowledge of electronics and reverse engineering, having built an electromagnetic field detector from an old Walkman radio.
Dean also possesses extensive knowledge of the supernatural and mythology (Although Sam's knowledge of 'on-the-spot' facts is generally superior, such as Sam being able to perform an exorcism on his own with no access to their usual books where Dean needed help from a teenage amateur witch to exorcise a demon). He is well-versed in how police, fire departments and various government agencies (FBI, CDC) typically operate and conduct investigations, and knows how to both impersonate and evade them effectively. An accomplished mechanic, he maintains his Impala in tip-top condition and has maintained an intimate knowledge of automobiles and engines since childhood.
Dean is a virtuoso of escape, evasion and silent movement, when the situation requires subtlety and stealth. Lastly, he is skillful in: lock picking, breaking into security systems (not so much computers, which often falls to Sam), and carjacking. Gaining an 'advantageous purchase' comes naturally to him.
Due to his time spent in Hell as Alistair's "student", Dean has an in-depth knowledge of torture, but he prefers not to use this knowledge as he does not like what he became during his time in Hell.
During Season 4, Dean gains magic that is effective against angels: he learns a banishing spell that sends angels back to Heaven from Castiel. He is also untraceable to angels after season 5, because he has Enochian symbols carved into his ribs by Castiel to hide him and Sam from all angels in existence.
Throughout the series, Dean is shown to possess a large amount of weaponry. He tends to use a Colt 1911. In addition to which, he also uses a sawed-off shotgun on occasions where greater firepower is required. He has also been seen with an MSG3 sniper rifle in "Simon Said."
Dean is shown to possess a large machete in "Dead Man's Blood," and has used a knife in several episodes. He is shown to possess a Desert Eagle loaded with wrought iron in the episode "Something Wicked" and tasers which he and Sam used in the start of "Faith". Throughout Season 5, he uses a Model 1887 shotgun against hellhounds and zombies. When weapons are scarce and Dean is in a dangerous situation, he uses hand-to-hand combat or whatever is available as a weapon.
During the fourth season episode "On the Head of a Pin," Dean is shown with a number of torture implements, including syringes of holy water.
The trunk of the Impala contains numerous weapons which are implied as having been needed in the past, notable examples include sheath knives and, perhaps the most alarming, an DefTech 37mm grenade launcher.
Jared Tristan Padalecki (born July 19, 1982) is an American actor. He grew up in Texas and came to fame in the early 2000s after appearing on the television series Gilmore Girls as well as in several Hollywood films, including New York Minute and House of Wax. Padalecki plays Sam Winchester on the CW television series Supernatural.
Padalecki was born in San Antonio, Texas to Gerald and Sherri Padalecki. He is of Polish ancestry on his father's side. He has an older brother, Jeff, and a younger sister, Megan. He started taking acting classes at the age of 12.
He attended James Madison High School in San Antonio and was named a candidate for the 2000 Presidential Scholars Program. In 1998, Padalecki and his partner Chris Cardenas won the National Forensic League national championship in Duo Interpretation. Padalecki won FOX's 1999 "Claim to Fame Contest"; he subsequently appeared at the Teen Choice Awards, where he met his current manager. After graduating from high school in 2000, he moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career, although he had originally planned to attend the University of Texas.
Padalecki's first role was a minor role in the 1999 film A Little Inside. In 2000, he was cast as Dean Forester on the television series Gilmore Girls, a role he played until 2005. Throughout the early 2000s, he also appeared in several made-for-television films, including Silent Witness, Close to Home, and the Disney Channel Original Movie A Ring of Endless Light.
Padalecki had an uncredited part as a high school bully in 2003's comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, which he played after being asked by fellow actor and friend Tom Welling, who played the part of Charlie Baker, and the director of the movie, who wanted someone larger than Charlie to pick on him. Padalecki originally auditioned for Welling's role, but gave it up in order to film a pilot titled Young MacGyver which was never picked up. In 2004, he appeared in the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen comedy New York Minute as Trey Lipton, a cute boy to whom the Olsens' characters are attracted. He also landed a short role in the thriller Flight of the Phoenix alongside Dennis Quaid and Hugh Laurie. In 2005, Padalecki starred opposite Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray and Paris Hilton in the horror film House of Wax in which he plays Wade, one of five teens who are slashed and killed. In the same year, Padalecki appeared in yet another horror film, Cry Wolf in which he played Tom.
The same year, Padalecki was cast as Sam Winchester on the WB series, Supernatural. Sam and his brother Dean (Jensen Ackles) drive throughout the United States hunting paranormal predators, sometimes with their father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The eighth season began broadcast on October 3, 2012 on the CW. The show is filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Padalecki also served as the host of MTV's horror reality series, Room 401 which was discontinued after only 8 episodes due to poor ratings.
He had the lead role in 2008's The Christmas Cottage, in which he played Thomas Kinkade.
Padalecki also had the lead role in the horror remake Friday the 13th film alongside Danielle Panabaker, which opened on Friday, February 13, 2009. He plays Clay Miller, a character who heads out to the doomed Camp Crystal Lake in search of his sister who has gone missing.
Padalecki married his former Supernatural co-star Genevieve Cortese on February 27, 2010 in Sun Valley, Idaho. He and his wife are currently residing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. On October 10, 2011, he announced they were expecting their first child. The couple's son, Thomas Colton Padalecki, was born on March 19, 2012. On July 21, 2013, via Jared's twitter, it was confirmed that the couple are expecting their second child.
Supernatural (season 3)
Samuel "Sam" Winchester is a fictional character and one of the two protagonists of The CW Television Network's Supernatural along with his older brother Dean. He is portrayed by Jared Padalecki.
Sam was born on May 2, 1983 to John and Mary Winchester in Lawrence, Kansas. He is one of two focal characters of the series. He is the couple's second child, four years younger than his older brother Dean. He is named after his maternal grandfather, Samuel Campbell.
When Sam was only six months old, his mother Mary was killed by the demon Azazel, whom his mother walked in on while he was feeding Sam demon blood. Sam is saved from the ensuing fire by his father, who then gives him to a four-year-old Dean to carry outside. Since that moment, Dean has felt responsible for Sam and became Sam's protector, partially due to pressure from their father to keep his brother safe.
Sam and Dean spent their childhood moving from town to town every few weeks while their father hunted supernatural beings and their mother's unknown killer. Until the age of 8, Sam believed that his mother had died in a car accident and his father was a traveling salesman, until Dean revealed to him the existence of the paranormal. Sam apparently started hunting alongside his brother and father around the age of twelve, however, he began wanting a normal life without monsters; years later, a teacher encouraged him to carve out a life away from the "family business" after reading Sam's story about a werewolf hunt. At nineteen, after a heated argument with John, Sam leaves for Stanford University, thus leaving his family and their hunting crusade behind him.
At the start of the series, 22-year-old Sam is seen as a senior at Stanford, applying for law school. Sam also has a girlfriend, Jessica, with whom he lives and secretly plans to marry. One night, Dean comes to Sam's apartment seeking his help after their father John goes missing. Although reluctant at first, Sam eventually accompanies his brother. After defeating a woman in white and discovering a trail to lead them to their father, Sam returns to Stanford where he witnesses Jessica's death at the hands of a demon - exactly the same way his mother was killed. This incites him to go with Dean to find their father and to kill the demon in order to avenge the deaths of his mother and his lover. In the consequent episodes, the brothers deal with dangerous mythical creatures and urban legends such as the wendigo, Bloody Mary, and shapeshifters. During this time, Sam begins experiencing episodes of precognitive dreams and once displays telekinesis.
As the search for John continues, Sam argues with Dean constantly - mostly about the way Dean obeys his father's orders without question, while Sam questions them and resents his father's treatment of them as "loyal little soldiers". The brothers eventually split up, with Dean going to investigate a mystery his father has assigned him while Sam decides to search for their father elsewhere. The two are eventually reunited after Dean apologizes.
Later in the season, John is captured by demons, and the brothers manage to rescue him. However, they soon learn that the demon who killed their mother and Jessica is in possession of their father's body. Though John begs Sam to kill him, Sam instead shoots John in the leg using the Colt, and the demon escapes. As Sam drives his father and a badly wounded Dean to a hospital, a truck driven by a demon-possessed man crashes into them, totaling Dean's Impala and gravely injuring the Winchesters.
At the beginning of the second season, the Winchesters are at the Nashville hospital, with Sam and John escaping with minor injuries, while Dean is on the brink of death. In a deal with Azazel, John sacrifices his soul in exchange for Dean's life and the Colt. While the boys mourn for their father's death, Sam expresses much guilt about never having a chance to reconcile with John, leading him to believe that his father died knowing his own son hated him.
As the boys start to take a more active role in hunting, Sam begins to search for psychic children like him to find out Azazel's plan. Eventually Sam learns from Dean that, before their father's death, John told Dean that Azazel is planning to turn Sam evil, and that Dean must save him - or else kill him. Although angered at his father and brother upon learning this revelation, Sam concludes to save as many people as possible so that he can change his destiny.
In the season finale, Sam is transported to an abandoned town along with Azazel's other chosen children. There he learns Azazel's plans: he and the other children must kill one another until there is one survivor - who will lead a demon army (as the Antichrist). Sam also discovers that Jessica was killed because her death would lead Sam back into hunting and Mary interrupted Azazel during the process of feeding Sam demon blood, and thus was killed. It is also revealed that Mary somehow knew Azazel. Although Sam tries to protect the other children, various fights ensue, and the children are killed off one by one. Eventually, only Jake Talley and Sam are left, at which point Sam is stabbed by Jake. Sam dies in Dean's arms.
In the aftermath, a desperate and depressed Dean sells his soul to the Crossroads Demon for Sam's resurrection. With the help of fellow hunters Bobby Singer and Ellen Harvelle, Sam and Dean track down Jake, but are unable to stop him from opening a gateway to Hell on Azazel's orders. However, Sam subdues Jake and kills him in cold blood. Eventually Bobby and Ellen manage to close the gateway while Sam and Dean battle Azazel. With the help of John's spirit, Dean finally kills Azazel and John shares an emotional moment with his sons before finally moving on. Afterwards, Sam learns that he was dead and Dean sold his soul to bring him back. He then promises Dean that he will save him no matter what it takes.
Sam continues to do whatever he can to save Dean from going to Hell; he begins to become more ruthless and is willing to kill anything demonic even if his prey is part human (i.e., demoniacally possessed humans), human witches, and even Gordon Walker who became a vampire. Sam later reveals that he's trying to become more like Dean so that, if he fails to save Dean's soul, he's ready to face a world full of demons on his own.
Season three also sees the introduction of the demon Ruby who has been trying to gain Sam's trust by helping the brothers in fixing The Colt, saving them numerous times, and telling Sam she can save Dean from Hell, even though in reality she can't. Ruby also reveals that because Sam refuses to lead the demon army, another demon named Lilith has fixed the power vacuum and is leading the army while carrying intentions to kill Sam; she is also revealed to hold Dean's contract to his soul.
In the season finale, Sam and Dean, armed with Ruby's Knife, confront Lilith in a last-ditch effort to save Dean's soul. Lilith, having stolen Ruby's human host, ultimately incapacitates Sam and has her Hellhounds attack Dean, forcing Sam to watch as his brother is torn apart. She then tries to kill Sam; however, her powers have no effect on him and she flees, leaving a crying Sam with Dean's mutilated corpse.
Four months after the season three finale, Dean has returned from Hell. He and Bobby meet up with Sam at a motel, where an overwhelmed Sam joyously reunites with Dean. While trying to figure out how Dean returned from Hell, Dean and Bobby confront the being who revived him, Castiel, an angel who was ordered by the Archangel Michael to resurrect Dean. They discover that this came to be because the angels need Dean and Sam's help to stop Lilith, who is breaking the 66 Seals, and once they are all broken, Lucifer the first fallen angel will be freed from Hell, bringing the Apocalypse upon the Earth.
It is revealed that in the months without Dean, Sam - depressed, drinking heavily, and carrying a death wish - tries to bargain with various Crossroads Demons in order to exchange his soul for Dean's. None of them accept the offer. Realizing he can't save Dean, Sam plans to kill Lilith in revenge. He makes contact with Ruby - now in a different host - who teaches him how to use his powers to exorcise demons. In time, he and Ruby become lovers and he appears to be moving on from Dean's death - to an extent, at least. When Dean finds out about Sam's powers and all the secrets Sam has been keeping from him, Sam responds by saying that he does this because Dean looks and treats him like a freak. Sam then promises Dean that he won't use his powers anymore but breaks the promise when it becomes apparent that his powers may be needed to prevent the Apocalypse.
Sam's powers become an important part of the fourth season as they are shown to fluctuate - at times so weak that he can barely exorcise a demon, whereas at other times they are strong enough to kill a demon. It is revealed that drinking demon blood makes Sam's powers grow stronger while at the same time making him "cold" and "arrogant". Sam eventually becomes addicted to demon blood, a fact that Dean soon discovers. With Bobby's help they lock Sam in a protected panic room so that he can detox, but the withdrawal symptoms are painful and he begins experiencing hallucinations. Just as the process becomes easier for Sam, Castiel appears and frees Sam. He meets up with Ruby and learns that he will need to drink more demon blood than he has ever done in order to have the strength to kill Lilith. Dean finds and confronts them and tries to kill Ruby, but Sam intervenes. He and Dean argue about how to stop the Apocalypse, whereupon Dean tells Sam he's changing into a monster, leading to a vicious fight between the brothers. Sam is the victor and as he leaves, Dean tells him not to return - just as their father John, years ago, told Sam not to return when he left for college.
As Sam begins to feel the guilt over abandoning his brother, he and Ruby capture a demon that knows Lilith's location. Using his powers to torture the demon, she gives the location, but as Sam is about to drink her blood, the demon gives control to her human host, inciting immense guilt in Sam. A message from Dean, altered by the angel Zachariah, manipulates Sam, pushing him to continue his original mission to kill Lilith; he then drains the woman of her blood anyway. Ruby and Sam go to St. Mary's Convent in Ilchester, Maryland, where they find Lilith. As Sam attempts to kill Lilith, Ruby holds the doors shut to keep Dean, who has just arrived, from interfering. Sam hesitates when he hears his brother yelling for him, but when Lilith mocks him for his inability to do the job - even after becoming a monster to do so - he finishes her off, fulfilling his true destiny as the "special child." Lilith's death breaks the final seal and begins forming a portal for Lucifer. At this point, Ruby reveals that she was leading Sam along the entire time so he would break the seal. Dean finally enters the room and kills Ruby with her own knife, while Sam holds her in place. Sam apologizes to his brother as a white light shows a portal beginning to open.
As the portal for Lucifer opens, Sam and Dean are teleported onto an airplane by an unknown force (God). Sam loses his demon powers, claiming that the force that transported him and Dean onto the plane cleaned him up. Later, when he is attacked by Meg, she makes fun of him for having to fight her without them. Sam feels tremendous guilt for starting Armageddon and is told by Dean that he doesn't think he can trust Sam anymore due to Sam choosing a demon over his own brother. Over time, Sam realizes that he is too dangerous to be involved in hunting, and he and Dean go their separate ways. During this time, Sam tries to start living a normal life, but is approached by Lucifer in his dreams in the form of Jessica, who tells him that Sam is his true vessel in conjunction with Dean being the true vessel for Michael. Sam decides to start hunting again with Dean as he is tired of demons controlling his life and seeks redemption for starting the Judgment Day; although Dean refuses at first, after he is sent to a nightmarish future in which he sees how awful things got with him and Sam not being together, he decides to join up with Sam once more.
On their search to find a way to defeat Lucifer, the boys attempt to use the Colt and look for God, but it is revealed that the Colt cannot kill Lucifer and God does not care about the Apocalypse. These actions make Dean decide to become Michael's vessel even if the end result is the deaths of millions of people, however, Sam's faith in Dean pulls him back on finding another solution. Upon the death of the Archangel Gabriel, the brothers discover that by using the rings from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, they can reopen and trap Lucifer back into Hell. As Dean and Sam already have War and Famine's rings, they search for Pestilence and Death's location, leading Sam to meet his old college friend Brady: the guy who introduced Sam to Jessica and the demon ordered by Azazel to kill Jessica. Although tempted to kill Brady immediately, Sam realizes that Brady is needed to find Pestilence's location and with the help of the demon Crowley they discover the horseman's location - after which Dean allows Sam to kill Brady.
After Castiel captures Pestilence's ring and Death hands his ring to Dean, both Bobby and Dean reluctantly decide to go with Sam's plan - that is, for Sam to agree to being Lucifer's vessel, then jump into the cage trapping them both in Hell. Upon arriving in Detroit, Sam begs Dean to go live a normal life with his old flame Lisa Braeden and says his goodbyes to Bobby and Castiel. He then proceeds to confront Lucifer, who reveals that he knows about their plan. Seeing no other options left, Sam says yes anyway. A bright light shines and Dean looks upon an unconscious Sam as he opens the portal to Lucifer's prison. Although "Sam" says that he has Lucifer under control, it is shown that Lucifer was just taunting Dean. Lucifer closes the portal and takes the rings before disappearing. At an unknown location, Sam continues to fight Lucifer internally for control over his body. While talking through a mirror, Lucifer tries to persuade Sam to embrace their union by slaughtering demons that were watching Sam throughout his entire life.
During Lucifer's confrontation at Stull Cemetery with Michael (using Adam as his vessel), he beats Dean, slamming him against the door of the Impala. As Lucifer is about to deliver a fatal blow, he catches a glimpse of a toy soldier stuck in the car's ash tray that a much younger Sam left there as a boy. It begins to trigger Sam's memories and his bond of brotherhood with Dean, allowing Sam to overpower Lucifer and regain control of his body. Sam takes out the rings and reopens the portal. After being killed by Castiel, Michael returns and attempts to stop him, but Sam jumps in, pulling Michael with him - trapping both Lucifer and Michael in Hell. The ground closes up with a stunned, devastated Dean watching. Later, it is shown that Dean fulfills his promise to Sam and has gone back to find Lisa. As he sits down with her and Ben for dinner, a street light outside goes out, and underneath it inexplicably is Sam, secretly watching the three with a blank look on his face.
Almost a year has passed since Sam went to Hell, and he reappears to Dean after saving him from Djinn poisoning. Upon their reunion, Sam reveals that he has been back this whole time searching for whatever force brought him back and hunting with his mother's side of the family, the Campbells, led by their grandfather Samuel who was also resurrected. While hunting with Sam again, Dean quickly notices how different he acts. These include using a baby as bait, allowing a child to go through a torturous treatment to gain information, and allowing Dean to become a vampire. After facing the goddess Veritas, Dean and Castiel question Sam's behavior. Castiel then reveals that Sam's soul is not with him and is still trapped in Lucifer's Cage. It is revealed that Crowley brought back Sam and Samuel so that they could help him find Purgatory, the afterlife of monsters, and that Samuel has been working for him. Crowley then states that if Sam and Dean help him he will return Sam's soul, but if they do not help him he will send Sam back to Hell. Although Sam still retains his memories, likes, dislikes, and is capable of making rational decisions, he is completely without emotion and appears almost inhuman.
Upon Dean's request, Death retrieves Sam's soul from the Cage and returns it to him at the end of the sixth season's mid-season finale "Appointment in Samarra". He gives Sam's mind a "protective wall" to prevent any negative effects it might have on him otherwise, but Death also warns him not to scratch at the wall he has built, or his memories from Hell will destroy him. However, Castiel, in an attempt to distract Dean and Bobby while he attempts to enter Purgatory, brings down the wall, ultimately causing Sam to remember his time in Hell. In the season finale, Sam spends much of the episode attempting to recoup his shattered soul, including the memories of his soulless self and tortured self. Once complete, he reawakens, though still struggling with the visions of the Cage that his soul endured.
After Castiel's actions result in the release of the Leviathans - God's first creations - Sam is left struggling with the restoration of his memories of his time in Hell, even if he remains dedicated to helping Dean and others stop the Leviathans. During this time, he has a reunion with his old Kitsune friend, Amy Pond, who has become a mortician feeding on the dead to sustain her, although Dean nevertheless kills her when he discovers that she has been killing to help her sick son. As Sam experiences hallucinations of Lucifer taunting him with the idea that he is still in Hell, he initially tries to control them by focusing on wounds he sustains in the real world, but matters become worse when he is forced to rely on information from the hallucination to save Dean. As his mental state becomes worse, Sam foregoes sleep to stop his visions, but is sent to an asylum when he is hit by a car while running away from Lucifer. While trying to find a healer who may be able to repair Sam, Dean encounters an amnesiatic Castiel, who, when restored to his full powers, sacrifices himself by taking Sam's mental damage. Sam is shown to possess great guilt about this and rejects hope that Bobby's ghost may be helping them out after an attempt to communicate with him fails. Sam is initially happy when it is shown that Bobby's ghost is there helping them, but changes his mind after Bobby shows more and more signs of becoming a vengeful spirit. During the final battle at Sucrocorp, Sam rescues Kevin Tran- a Prophet who can read the Word of God- and is horrified to hear of Dick Roman's plan to kill all the skinny people in the world through poison in their coffee creamers. He and Kevin head to the lab where they find Dick Roman being killed by Dean and Castiel. After Dick explodes, Dean and Castiel disappear and Crowley appears and takes Kevin, leaving Sam completely on his own, not knowing Dean and Castiel are now trapped in Purgatory.
The year Sam spends with Dean and Castiel trapped in Purgatory is revealed through various flashbacks in the first half of the season. Now left on his own, Sam believes that Dean had been killed when Dick exploded, and gives up hunting. After several months, he accidentally runs over a stray dog and, panicked, takes it to an animal hospital. The veterinarian who saves the dog's life—Amelia Richardson—convinces Sam to take responsibility for the stray by adopting it. Despite a rocky start, Sam and Amelia fall in love and even buy a house together in Kermit, Texas. They later find out that her husband Don, who she had believed was killed in action, was actually still alive. Sam wants to stay with Amelia, but eventually decides to leave and give her the opportunity to reconnect with Don.
Sam runs into Dean and learns that Dean had just escaped from Purgatory; upon learning about what Sam had been doing the past year, Dean is upset that Sam had not even tried to save him or continued hunting. They find out that Kevin had managed to escape from Crowley six months ago and left Sam a string of desperate voice messages, begging for help. Sam feels guilty and joins Dean in tracking down Kevin, who reveals that he has discovered a passage in the Word of God that would banish all demons from Earth forever. The spell requires three trials be performed by one person. Although Dean tries to do it himself in order to protect Sam from any possible consequence of the trials, Sam ends up completing the first trial (killing a hellhound and bathing in its blood) in "Trial and Error" to protect Dean; he persuades his brother to let him finish the rest by reasoning that they both should live. However, performing the trials quickly begins "damaging" him, which worries Dean.
After meeting Benny—the vampire who helped Dean escape from Purgatory in exchange for Dean resurrecting him—at the end of "Blood Brother", Sam immediately distrusts him, and asks Martin (a friend of their father's who had previously appeared in Season 5's "Sam, Interrupted") to monitor Benny. Martin contacts Sam in "Citizen Fang" to tell him that he believes Benny killed somebody, bringing the Winchesters to Carencro, Louisiana to help investigate. However, upon receiving an emergency text from Amelia and being unable to get ahold of her, Sam tears back to Kermit. He finds Amelia happily reunited with Don, and realizes that the text had been a trick by Dean to divert him from Benny. Enraged, Sam initially refuses to continue hunting with Dean in the following episode. Castiel—who has been mysteriously rescued from Purgatory—enlists his help in saving the angel Samandriel from being tortured by Crowley, forcing the brothers to reluctantly work together again. Castiel ends up killing Samandriel instead and then quickly leaving, causing the Winchesters to question if something is amiss with their friend. When forced by both Dean and Amelia to choose, Sam decides to rejoin his brother and fully commit himself to sealing Hell over returning to his normal life with Amelia.
In "Taxi Driver", Kevin learns that the second trial is to save an innocent soul from Hell and send it off to Heaven. With the aid of a reaper, Sam accesses Purgatory and then enters Hell through it. The reaper tells him he will return to take Sam back to Earth in exactly twenty-four hours. Sam finds Bobby, who had been unjustly trapped in Hell on Crowley's orders, and together they flee into Purgatory, but the reaper does not arrive to take them back to Earth, having been interrogated and killed by Crowley; Benny arrives instead, having agreed to be killed by Dean in order to find and help Sam out of Purgatory. He guides Sam and Bobby to the same portal he had escaped through with Dean, but chooses to stay behind in Purgatory rather than go with them as Dean had planned. When Dean reveals that he is keeping Benny's remains on Earth intact in the hopes that he may find a way to bring him back, Sam agrees, having finally come to trust Benny after the latter's sacrifice. Despite Crowley's attempts to interfere, Sam completes the second trial by sending Bobby's soul up to Heaven with Naomi's help. However, at the end of the episode, Sam and Dean find that Kevin has disappeared with all his notes, having also hidden the Word of God earlier, leaving the Winchesters unable to learn what the third trial is. They eventually learn that the third trial is to cure a demon- the Winchesters capturing Crowley for that purpose when he attempts to kill those they have saved n the past-, but Dean halts the ritual when he learns that it will kill Sam. In the aftermath, Sam, Dean, Crowley and the now-human Castiel witness the renegade angel Metatron seal the gates of Heaven and banish all the angels to Earth.
Sam's supernatural abilities are the result of him being fed Azazel's demon blood while he was an infant. Sam exhibits signs of precognition throughout the first season, manifesting as dreams of others' deaths and later as visions. Sam has also shown signs of sensing spirits, once displayed telekinesis, and immunity to certain demonic powers. Sam states that his abilities are connected to Azazel and anything related to his actions, such as the other special children. This argument was further proven after Azazel's death, as Sam stopped having visions of both the demon and the other psychics, however, according to Ruby his powers were simply dormant. After training with Ruby, Sam develops new abilities, such as exorcising demons with his mind, and his telekinesis becomes more potent. By drinking demon blood Sam's power become stronger, to the point where he can outright kill demons and even torture them while in their human hosts; by drinking at least three gallons of demon blood, he can kill demons just by concentrating and willing it to happen. After being affected by the Horseman Famine, Sam uses his powers to defeat him. Shortly after this, Dean and Bobby lock him in the panic room and force him to detox.
In addition, with the training given to him by his father, Sam is a skilled fighter, proficient with firearms, shotguns and melee weapons. Like his brother Dean, he possesses many abilities that are frowned upon by law, including but not limited to: lock picking, computer hacking, disguised conning, and car jacking. Throughout the series, Sam has shown to be highly intelligent with reading and recalling Latin incantations, which can be used to summon, exorcise, and vanquish demons; typically, when the two brothers are working together, Dean is the superior physical fighter while Sam's expertise lies in carrying out research and recalling information to determine the nature of the threat that they are currently facing. Through Ruby, he knows how to make hex bags to cloak himself from demons and angels. Sam also displays the ability to read one's "poker face" and has a great sense of direction and time, at one point being able to find a vampire's nest while blindfolded by keeping track of the time and the turns of the car.
John Winchester (Supernatural)
Season three of Supernatural, an American paranormal drama television series created by Eric Kripke, premiered on October 4, 2007, and concluded on May 15, 2008. Traveling throughout America, protagonists Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) use their father's journal to help them carry on the family business—saving people and hunting supernatural creatures. The season begins with the brothers tracking down the demons released from Hell in the previous season finale. They become allies with a demon named Ruby (Katie Cassidy), who claims to know a way to release Dean from his demonic pact—he had sold his soul to a demon and was given a year to live in exchange for Sam's resurrection—and wants to protect them from the new demonic leader Lilith. As Dean's deadline approaches, their efforts are further hindered by Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohan), a professional thief of occult items who is often at odds with the Winchesters.
In the United States the season aired on Thursdays at 9:00 pm ET on the CW television network. The CW ordered 22 episodes for the season, but interference from the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike ultimately limited the season to 16 episodes. Some storylines were thus postponed, which Kripke felt ultimately benefited the season by forcing the writers to focus on saving Dean. Despite its low ratings—it averaged only about 2.74 million American viewers—the series received an early renewal for a fourth season. The third season received mixed reviews from critics and fans, while the introduction of Ruby and Bela garnered generally negative responses.
Warner Home Video released the season on DVD as a five-disc box set in Region 1 on September 2, 2008, in Region 2 on August 25, 2008, and in Region 4 on October 1, 2008. The episodes are also available through digital retailers such as Apple's iTunes Store, Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace, and Amazon.com's on-demand TV service.
In this table, the number in the first column refers to the episode's number within the entire series, whereas the number in the second column indicates the episode's number within that particular season. "U.S. viewers in millions" refers to how many Americans watched the episode live or on the day of broadcast.
When a being dressed as Santa Claus begins killing people after dragging them up the chimney, the Winchesters head to Ypsilanti, Michigan to investigate. Sam suspects that an evil version of Santa—many world lores tell of those who punish the wicked during Christmas—is at work. He notices that over both victims' fireplaces are the same wreaths made of meadowsweet, a herb often used in pagan rituals to lure gods to a human sacrifice. The brothers track down the makers of the wreaths, a pair of pagan gods posing as the apparently perfect Edward (Spencer Garrett) and Madge Carrigan (Merrilyn Gann). However, they are captured as intended human sacrifices. When the Carrigans are distracted by a neighbor at the front door, the Winchesters break free. Knowing that the gods can be killed by evergreen wood, they stab the gods to death with branches of the Christmas tree.
The third season introduced two new series regulars, both of whom were credited as starring in select episodes. Katie Cassidy portrayed the demon Ruby, who was created to change the perception of demons into more of a grey area, rather than the "black and white", "They're evil, we're good" approach previously used in the series. Likewise, Lauren Cohan's character of Bela Talbot was meant to be "someone [the Winchesters have] really never come across before". Self-serving, she steals mystical artifacts for profit and has no interest in the "altruistic or obsessed or revenge-minded motives of hunting". In response to fan concerns about the characters, series creator Eric Kripke stated, "[Ruby and Bela are] there for important plot elements, but it's not the Ruby and Bela show, nor is it about the four of them cruising around in the Impala together. It's about the guys." Budgetary reasons brought about the replacement of Cassidy for the fourth season, while the character of Bela was removed due to the negative fan reaction.
While there were new faces for the third season, much of the cast carried over from the previous year. Actor Jim Beaver returned as hunter Bobby Singer, and felt the character had grown into a surrogate father for Sam and Dean. Richard Speight, Jr. returned as the Trickster in "Mystery Spot", as did Travis Wester and A. J. Buckley in "Ghostfacers" as Harry Spangler and Ed Zeddmore. Portraying "bumbling versions" of the Winchesters, Wester and Buckley improvised many of their lines. The writers also considered bringing back Charles Malik Whitfield for a recurring role, with his character FBI agent Victor Henricksen continuing his hunt for the brothers throughout the season. Whitfield stated his willingness to relocate to Vancouver, but the writers ultimately went a different direction. Because the threat of being captured by Agent Henriksen looms over the Winchesters all season, the writers wanted to bring the plotline to a close in "Jus in Bello". Kripke suggested that Gamble develop and deepen his character, "give him a great send off, and then kill him...or at least...mostly kill him". With the character last seen being confronted by the demon Lilith, Gamble noted that Agent Henriksen's fate was left ambiguous, and that she herself was uncertain.
Appearances of other characters did not work out as originally planned. Sterling K. Brown made his final appearance as the vampire hunter Gordon Walker in "Fresh Blood" after a brief role in "Bad Day at Black Rock". The character's story arc for the season was intended to be longer, but Brown's commitments to the Lifetime Television series Army Wives limited his return to two episodes. Filming for the movie Watchmen prevented Jeffrey Dean Morgan from returning in a dream sequence as John Winchester in "Dream a Little Dream of Me", but the actor was able to provide his voice for the episode "Long Distance Call". The 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike forced the writers to scrap an episode featuring the return of Samantha Ferris as Ellen Harvelle in the middle of the season, and failed negotiations prevented an appearance in the finale.
Some casting choices were influenced by affiliations with the actors and crew. Sandra McCoy, who played a host to the Crossroads Demon in "Bedtimes Stories", began dating Padalecki after working with him on the 2005 film Cry Wolf. Before her appearance on the series she had auditioned for the roles of Jessica Moore, Sam's girlfriend in the pilot episode; Sarah, a love interest for Sam in the first-season episode "Provenance"; and Carmen, Dean's girlfriend in the second-season alternate-reality episode "What Is and What Should Never Be". She believed that, due to her relationship with Padalecki, the production staff were waiting until the "perfect role" arrived before casting her. The role of the immortal Doc Benton was reserved for actor Billy Drago, whom executive producer Kim Manners had previously worked with on the television series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.. A fan of Frankenstein-actor Boris Karloff, Drago said of the role, "This was an opportunity to play both Dr. Frankenstein and his creation simultaneously. Instead of creating some immortal monster, he makes himself immortal. This was my chance to pay homage to what I consider one of the great actors of our time". Due to the time required to apply the extensive make-up and prosthetics for the role, Drago ended up with a minimum of 20-hour work days. However, he felt that the sleep deprivation improved his performance because "Benton's immortal and [moving] all the time". Manners also selected his assistant, Kelley Cleaver, to play one of Doc Benton's victims.
For the third season, Kripke and the writing staff tried to mix the style of the "simple, pure, emotional" first season mythology with the "intensity" of the second season's self-enclosed episodes. Kripke noted that Dean's demonic deal of the previous season provided the writers with "a lot of effective emotional context to play with". The writing for Sam focused on the character growing up in order to support Dean, making the character more independent as he begins to realize that Dean will not be around forever; Dean, however, acts immaturely to hide his fear of going to Hell, and eventually learns for himself that he is worth saving. Kripke described the season's storylines, including the self-enclosed episodes, as "very cross-cultural". He commented, "We borrow from every world religion, every culture. The cosmology of the show is that if a legend exists about something somewhere out there in the world, it's true. So you really have this cross-pollination of different demons, different creatures, all from different religions."
With the demon Azazel—the main antagonist of the first two seasons—dying in the second-season finale, demons as a whole became the primary villains of the third season. This excited the writers because the mythology became "just about all of these different demons and all the different things demons do". The revelation that demons are in actuality the corrupted souls of humans was instituted for two reasons: it not only "opened up the mythology in an interesting and complicated way" by implying that demons are "not just black and white" and that "dark evil can exist in the human heart under the right conditions", but it also served as character development for Dean by showing him what he will one day become in Hell.
A reflection of terrorist cells, the demonic war against humanity is mainly depicted in the third season through small groups of demons working independently. On this aspect, Kripke commented, "They were not necessarily organized, and there was a danger in that, that they could be everywhere. Each one has a different motive." The studio voiced its belief that the series was "suffocating" because it had "just these two guys and these creepy little rooms", and suggested that the writers "open up the scope of the story and make things more epic" following the "epic kind of scope" associated with the second season episodes "Hollywood Babylon" and "All Hell Breaks Loose". With this in mind, the writers decided to depict the war as large-scale. Though Kripke warned that doing so would cost much more money, the studio gave its blessing to exceed the allotted budget. However, the season premiere came in "way, way over budget", prompting the studio to change its mind. Kripke noted that this had ramifications for the season, and commented, "All season we've been promising this demon war, but due to the fact that we don't have $20 million an episode, we really have to pick and choose when we're going to show the battles of that war."
As time passed, Kripke felt that the terrorist-cell format was not working out as planned, partly because he prefers writing based on old legends rather than current topics. In his opinion, the season did not hit its stride until the seventh episode because the first six were bogged down by budget problems and an ambiguous mythology. To stabilize the demon storyline, the writers introduced a new lead villain, with Kripke finding it "refreshing to get back on firm ground where you knew there was a bad guy and you knew there was a plan". They were uncertain for a while as to who the new demon leader would be, and gave the character the working title of Zarqawi during the planning stages. Gamble insisted that the demon be female, and suggested that she be the mythological Lilith. The debate then shifted to whether Lilith should be a woman or little girl, with the writers eventually settling on the latter because they found it creepier.
Only 12 episodes were made before production was sidelined by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Regarding the final four episodes before the hiatus, Kripke noted, "We were just getting to a point in our storyline when we were really starting to ramp up the mythology and really ramp up both the pace and the size, the story events that happened, both in terms of the mythology and in terms of the lives of the characters. We started rolling with that, and you'll see the increased momentum and increased intensity in these four episodes." Because the possibility existed that production would not resume until the fourth season, the writers reordered the final two episodes; "Jus in Bello", which reintroduced the demon war under Lilith's command and had an "epic sweep to it", became the final episode instead of "Mystery Spot" to establish a "jerry-rigged season climax".
When the strike ceased, only four more episodes were produced. This forced the postponement of many planned expansions of the series mythology, such as Mary Winchester's connection to Azazel and the escalating demon war. A major deviation occurred with the development of Sam's demonic abilities. The writers intended for him to save Dean from Hell, possibly even before the season finale, by giving into his demonic powers and becoming "this fully operational dark force" who would then want to go after Lilith. However, the strike prevented the writers from fleshing out his evolving abilities, and the story arc was pushed back into the fourth season. Despite this, Kripke felt the strike's effects ended up making the series "meaner, leaner, and more concise", as they were able to focus the remaining episodes onto "the storyline [they] needed to pay off"—Dean's demonic pact. He also pointed out that the strike gave the writers and actors a much-needed break, reenergizing them for the final episodes and subsequent season.
Many episodes featured independent stories, which attain closure at the end of each episode and add little to the overarching storylines. Certain aspects of these were inspired by real-life events. According to Gamble, the birth of Kripke's child caused the writing staff to start "thinking about how creepy babies are". This led to the decision to base an episode around changelings—infant creatures who are exchanged with human babies. The writers chose the deviate from folklore, making the changelings older in "The Kids Are Alright" to avoid having Sam and Dean blowtorching babies. The title of the episode "Malleus Maleficarum" references the Middle Ages treatise of the same name detailing how to deal with witches; this decision stemmed from the intended plot of the episode, which involved a small town initiating a witch hunt. In the end, a demon would have been revealed to be framing the women in order to create chaos. However, the writers felt the story was too similar to "Sin City", and instead had the demon Tammi turn a group of women into witches. The episode's sequence in which a character finds maggots in his hamburger was inspired by Kripke's "horrific" discovery of a maggot-covered possum in his garbage can.
Other stories were developed from simple concepts. Writer Ben Edlund desired to write a "screwball comedy" that did not feature any monsters. Kripke was "enamored" with the idea, and it evolved into the rabbit's foot episode "Bad Day at Black Rock". The concept of the curse box—a container for the rabbit's foot that "magically [cuts] off the cursed items from the rest of the continuum"—was based on Pandora's Box. The episode "Sin City" was originally only meant to be written by Jeremy Carver, who pitched a concept similar to the film Enemy Mine—Dean would be trapped with a demon in a wine cellar. However, he realized that the second half would mainly feature a conversation between Dean and the demon and would deeply delve into demon mythology. Carver sought help, and Robert Singer agreed to write the scenes for him. Singer enjoyed humanizing demons and presenting their point of view. For "Mystery Spot", the story development fell into place during the writing process. It started off as a Groundhog Day-concept—the same day repeating for a character—which was then expanded into repeatedly killing Dean. The decision to make it into another Trickster episode brought it all together.
Principal photography took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Because the series uses few standing sets, set designer Jerry Wanek often constructed entirely new sets for each episode. He often followed specific themes, especially with the Winchesters' lodging. For example, the Spanish-looking motel room of "Malleus Maleficarum" was inspired by the Procol Harem song "Conquistador". Because the town of "Sin City" was intended to be a New Orleans/Las Vegas hybrid, the episode's motel-room theme was "a little more flamboyant" with a color scheme of "old Las Vegas". At times, however, Wanek was able to reuse old sets, such as with the refurbishment of "The Magnificent Seven"s bar for "Sin City".
Not all scenes could take place in the studio, and some were instead shot on location. Parts of "Sin City" were shot in Langley, British Columbia; production was only given control over part of the main street, so traffic was driving by during filming. Both "Red Sky at Morning" and "Bedtime Stories" used Burnaby's Heritage Park; it functioned as a cemetery for the former, while the latter used it as the site of a giant gingerbread house. It took three days to build the house along a gravel-road trail, and the greens department added in foliage. The house was designed to be more of a cottage to avoid appearing too surreal. Unfortunately for McCoy, the crossroads scenes of "Bedtime Stories" were filmed at night in the freezing cold. The actress' wardrobe consisted only of an "almost nonexistent" dress, which made her "miserable". Though she found the experience to be "a lot of fun", McCoy had a serious case of stage fright working with Padalecki. She was too emotional to run her scenes beforehand with him, and even at one point during filming had to excuse herself to craft service to "eat and cry like the emotional girl [she] was that night".
Some aspects of the storylines were conceived on set during filming. Lisa's kiss with Dean at the end of "The Kids Are Alright" was unscripted; director Phil Sgriccia convinced actress Cindy Sampson to do so because he wanted to see how Ackles would react. Sgriccia also added in similarities between Dean and his possible son Ben, such as having them both look down at same moment after being scolded, and both checking out the "hot mom and the hot little girl" in unison. This was to make them appear to be, as Kripke noted, of "similar mind and body".
To the production staff's chagrin, the network requested a "more colorful look" for the third season. Director of photography Serge Ladouceur commented, "I went along with it and made it work. The dark scenes were still shot dark, so we were cautious in keeping the direction of our show." While the new lighting became normal for the season, other methods atypical to the series were also used. The knife-fight sequence that introduces Ruby in "The Magnificent Seven" was shot at 120 frames per second. This high rate allowed for the scene to be sped up or slowed down during post-production. Filming for the reality-show themed episode "Ghostfacers" featured no crews on the set; the actors instead carried their own cameras and lighting. Padalecki found it "pretty liberating" because he did not have to worry about finding his marks or making sure not to block people from the camera.
Costumes for the season were designed by Diane Widas. For the character of Ruby, Widas used dark tones to better hide her in shadows. Her wardrobe consisted of pleather jackets and narrow jeans to allow the actress to be more active. Child actor Nicholas Elia, who portrayed Dean's potential son in "The Kids Are Alright", was meant to look like a "Little Dean". Widas intended to make a smaller version of the canvas three-quarter jacket that Dean wears, but she ended up finding another jacket that was ultimately used. Other wardrobe designs were influenced by episode themes, with the villains of "A Very Supernatural Christmas" wearing "very campy" Christmas sweaters. For the costumes of "Sin City", Widas noted that "passion colors—purples and oranges and reds—were brought into the mix to create that 'anything goes' feeling". For "Bad Day at Black Rock", production designer John Marcynuk included a rabbit in every scene that involved an act of good luck, such as a Vietnam veteran wearing an embroidered rabbit patch.
To depict the supernatural aspects of the show, the series makes use of visual, special, and make-up effects, as well as stuntwork. Visual effects is an in-house department, and is supervised by Ivan Hayden. The opening scene of "The Magnificent Seven" featured the most demons clouds of the first three seasons; Hayden noted that the army cloud consisted of hundreds of individual demons. The episode "Mystery Spot" heavily relied on visual effects for Dean's various death sequences by making use of a computer-generated 3D model of Ackles. Because of the episode's light tone, they were not afraid to make the effects silly, such as by showing Dean's skeleton when he is electrocuted.
For the changelings in "The Kids Are Alright", Kripke merely instructed Hayden to make the children's faces pale and have dark circles beneath their eyes. Hayden, however, felt they could do more, and modeled the appearance after a lamprey. They also attempted to base the design in reality by applying real-world evolution. With a flat face, they reasoned that its nose would have retracted and its eyes would have receded for protection, eventually shriveling up and disappearing over time.
Though the script for "Red Sky at Morning" described the confrontation between the ghostly sailors as "they collide into a swirling vortex that disappears", Kripke and Singer ultimately left creative control up to Hayden. Production filmed each element of the sequence separately, with the cemetery itself taking place at Heritage Park. A separate plate used exploding water balloons shot at 1,000 frames per second; this high frame rate allowed for the use of slow motion. The layers were then composited into a single sequence, with the elements transitioning into 3D models of the characters and water after the initial collision.
Special effects were also a major aspect of production. For example, hydraulics were used in "The Magnificent Seven" to break the devil's trap on the ceiling, and required two takes to film. When the ceiling did not fully crack the first time, it took 45 minutes to take out the ceiling and replace the hydraulics. The same episode also depicts a car crashing into a bar. The department cabled the car to a large decelerator—a "big shock absorber"—so that they could drive the car fast but not worry about hitting the cameraman. Costs, however, sometimes hindered the use of effects, such as in "Red Sky at Morning". The spirit's first victim would have drowned after her shower fills with water, and a later scene would have depicted a similar death in a car. When production determined that they could not afford these set pieces, the writers reduced the ghost's ability to merely drowning his victims through touch. The spirit attacks Bela in the episode's climax, which made use of a contraption built by special effects makeup artist Tony Lindala; a tube connected to a denture on the off-camera side of Cohan pumped out large amounts of water, creating the illusion that she is vomiting it out.
The mostly synthesized orchestral score of the season was composed by Christopher Lennertz and Jay Gruska. The pair try to base the music on the visuals of each episode, with about a third of each episode's score being newly written for the supernatural legend. For example, Lennertz penned distinct music for each Sin in "The Magnificent Seven", with a "slow, lumbering, creepy low-end thing" theme for Sloth. As part of Ruby's introduction in the same episode, he scraped a quarter against a cymbal to create a scraping metal sound that was "a little otherworldly". Lennertz feels that "people associate the sound of violins with vampires" due to the "connection with Eastern Europe and counts", and used a "very violin-heavy" score for "Fresh Blood".
Unusual for the series, co-executive producer Ben Edlund contributed to the music of "Ghostfacers". The writer of the episode, Edlund penned the reality show's theme song before he even pitched the concept to Kripke. Lennertz and Edlund sang the theme song and played guitars, intending to make it the "silliest theme song [they] could come up with". The score was treated like it was a reality show, so Lennertz used "really cheesy synthesizers" to mimic reality show music, and made it "sound lame on purpose".
In addition to the score, the series makes use of rock songs, with most being selected from Kripke's private collection. Rock songs are also usually featured in "The Road So Far" montages at the beginning of select episodes that recap previous events. The premiere used AC/DC's "Hells Bells", while the finale recapped the entire season to Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son".
Supernatural had low ratings during its third season, but did well with viewers aged 18–49. In this category, it ranked eighth of all returning series broadcast by a major network. Overall it ranked No. 187 relative to the position of other prime time network shows. Despite its average viewership of 2.74 million Americans, the show received an early pickup for its fourth season.
Critical reception to the season has generally been mixed. Tim Janson of Mania felt the season moved "at a breakneck pace", describing the viewing experience as "being on a trail speeding headlong into the unknown". Giving the season a grade of an "A", he praised the writers for avoiding becoming "one-dimensional" even after introducing so many demonic villains, and also added that they "did a good job" in including self-enclosed episodes despite the writers' strike. Diana Steenbergen of IGN somewhat disagreed, and gave the episode a score of 8.4 out of 10. Although she generally enjoys season-long story arcs, Steenbergen felt that Dean's time limit signified to viewers that the plotline would not be resolved until the season finale. With this mindset, the middle episodes "feel like they are treading water". She found the season premiere to be "pretty boring", but called "Jus in Bello" to be "one of the best episodes of the year, maybe even of the show itself", because it begins with an "epic battle" setting but still "focuses on the personal level of the Winchesters and the people around them". Also praised was the character growth for the brothers, such as Sam's exploration of his darker side. Because Dean is usually portrayed as having a "tough, bravado filled exterior", she liked to see Ackles "go deeper" during his character's many "earnest conversations" with Sam. The "likeable secondary characters" of Charles Malik Whitfield's Agent Henrickson and Jim Beaver's Bobby Singer were welcomed back. While there were "a number of good episodes", Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune pointed out the "few outright clunkers" such as "Red Sky at Morning". With a lack of a "compelling unifying concept or theme"—Ryan found demons to always be a threat and felt that Dean's deal didn't carry the "same weight" as later arcs did—she posited that the third season "wasn't the show's finest hour". Combining the effects of the strike with The CW's attempts to interfere, she deemed the season "rockier than Seasons 2 or 4". Airlock Alphas Julie Pyle criticized the season's brighter lighting, calling it "Supernatural Lite". Fans, too, had mixed feelings for the season. Common complaints, in comparison to the first two seasons, included a reduction in rock music, "intensity", and "snappy dialogue".
Regarding the introduction of Ruby and Bela, critics generally had negative views. Steenbergen had hoped that more female characters "would make things interesting", but ultimately found them to be "wasted characters" that were "unlikable and manipulative" and "usually made our heroes look stupid". While Pyle deemed Cohan a "quite talented" actress, she noted that the character "feels forced into each episode". By the middle of the season, fan reaction to Bela and Ruby also tended to be negative. Many described them as "badly written and badly acted" characters that detract from the Winchesters' brotherly relationship, though some did deem the women "interesting".
Work on the episode "Jus in Bello" garnered the sound editors an Emmy Award nomination in the category of "Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series", while "Ghostfacers" received a GLAAD Media Award nomination in the category of "Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)".
The third season was released as a five-disc Region 1 DVD box set in the US on September 2, 2008, a month before the premiere of the fourth season. Including all 16 episodes of the third season, the set also featured DVD extras such as bloopers, episode discussions by the writers, a featurette on the various effects used on the show, and a digital copy of the season. The set was ranked No. 6 in DVD sales for its week of release, selling 104,979 units for $4,093,131. It slipped to No. 18 the following week with 35,593 units for $1,387,771. Though sales increased in the third week—40,034 units for $1,560,926—the set fell to No. 19, and was bumped off the top-30 list by the fourth week. The season was also released in Region 2 on August 25, 2008, and in Region 4 on October 1, 2008. A three-disc, region-free Blu-ray box set was later released on November 11, 2008.
A Very Supernatural Christmas
John Eric Winchester is a fictional character on The CW Television Network's drama/horror television series Supernatural, and the protagonist of the comic book spin-off series Supernatural: Origins. Developed by series creator Eric Kripke, the character is mainly portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. John is the father of Sam and Dean Winchester, the show's protagonists.
Seeking revenge after his wife Mary was killed by the demon Azazel, John Winchester became a hunter and raised his two sons to fight the supernatural. John disappears early in Supernatural, and the first season revolves primarily around Sam and Dean trying to find him. Morgan was also filming episodes of Grey's Anatomy while the first season of Supernatural was under production, and future appearances of the character were hindered by his busy schedule. While Morgan's portrayal has been praised, fans and critics were generally frustrated at the character for keeping so many secrets.
Born in 1954 in Illinois, John Winchester was apparently abandoned by his father in 1958, causing him to grow up to hate the man, not knowing that he was part of a secret order known as the Men of Letters and had traveled into the future where he died at the hands of the demon Abaddon. John left high school to join the Marine Corps, eventually attaining the rank of corporal and receiving many medals for his service in Vietnam. After leaving the service, he found a job as a mechanic, and fell in love with Mary Campbell, whom he would later marry.
Following the mysterious death of his wife years later, John Winchester investigated the incident and learned of the existence of the supernatural. His desire to find and kill the being that took Mary's life led him to become a hunter of supernatural creatures. He took his sons, Sam and Dean, with him during his travels, but often left them alone in motels for long periods of time during his hunts, leaving Dean with instructions to "shoot first and ask questions later" while watching over Sam. As revealed in the fourth season episode "Jump the Shark", John slept with a woman he met while away on a hunt. Learning over a decade later that he had fathered her son Adam, John made occasional visits over the years to partake in father-son activities with him. He hid the truth from Adam to protect him, and never revealed to him the existence of Sam and Dean, nor vice-versa. Meanwhile, John trained Sam and Dean to become hunters. However, Sam later left this life to start anew in college, leading to a fallout between John and his son.
Twenty-two years after Mary's death, John disappears while on a hunt, forcing Sam and Dean to reunite in an unsuccessful attempt to find him. Sam returns to the life of a hunter after Azazel, the demon that killed his mother, also kills Sam's girlfriend. John reluctantly chooses to avoid his sons throughout most of the season while he investigates something, eventually reuniting with them in the episode "Shadow". However, the demonic Meg Masters attacks them and reveals that Azazel is after John. After escaping from Meg, the brothers split up from their father to keep him from the demons. When vampires murder his old mentor and steal the Colt—a mystical gun capable of killing anything—John teams up with Sam and Dean in "Dead Man's Blood" to retrieve it. Because demons cannot be killed by conventional means, they hope that the Colt will be effective against Azazel. In response, Meg begins killing the Winchesters' friends in "Salvation", and threatens to kill more unless they deliver the Colt. John is captured after trying to give her a fake gun, and reveals himself to be possessed by Azazel when the brothers come to his rescue in the first season finale "Devil's Trap". However, he manages to resist the demon's control. Despite John's pleas for Sam to shoot him with the Colt, Sam cannot bring himself to do so and allows Azazel to escape. As the Winchesters flee in Dean's Impala, a demonically-possessed trucker crashes into them.
In the second season premiere, "In My Time of Dying", Sam and John awake in the hospital with only minor injuries, but a dying Dean is comatose. John secretly summons Azazel, and seems to know what the demon's plans are. He then makes a deal to save Dean, giving up his life, soul, and the Colt. Before his death, John whispers something in Dean's ear, later revealed to be orders for Dean to kill Sam should he be unable to stop him from becoming evil—Sam had been secretly fed Azazel's blood as an infant on the night of Mary's death, granting him demonic abilities with the potential to corrupt him. The fourth season episode "On the Head of a Pin" reveals that the demon Alastair tortured John in Hell for over a century, and offered to stop if he would torture someone else—agreeing to do so would break the first seal holding Lucifer in Hell. However, John never gave in. The soul of John later appears in "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2" when a gateway to Hell is opened. He saves Dean from Azazel, and distracts the demon long enough for Dean to kill him with the Colt. John then gives Sam and Dean a loving smile before becoming engulfed in a white light. However, the fifth season episode "Dark Side of the Moon" suggests that he is not in Heaven.
In the fourth season episode "In the Beginning", Dean is sent through time by the angel Castiel. He meets his parents' former selves, and ends up convincing John to buy the Impala that he eventually inherits. Dean later watches John being killed by Azazel, though the demon then resurrects him in exchange for Mary's permission to enter her house in ten years. When the angel Anna Milton travels back in time to prevent the brothers' births in the fifth season episode "The Song Remains the Same", John agrees to serve as a temporary vessel for the archangel Michael to stop her. Michael subsequently erases John and Mary's memories of the incident. In "As Time Goes By," John's father Henry arrives in 2013 looking for John to enlist his help to defeat the demon Abaddon. Henry- who had been about to ascend to become a full member of the Men of Letters before Abaddon's attack slaughtered the rest of the order- is disgusted to learn that John became a hunter, regarding them as little more than 'mouth-breathing apes' who automatically resort to violence, but after reading John's journal, tries to change history so that John grew up with him. He is stopped by Dean, who argues that Henry could end up making matters worse, and eventually killed by Abaddon while helping Dean save Sam, but tells Sam and Dean that after seeing them, he is proud of the man John became, hunter or not.
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan deemed John a "tormented soul", motivated by an "equal combination of revenge and protecting his sons". Following the death of their mother, Sam and Dean became secondary to John's quest of killing the demon responsible, although Morgan believed that this aspect changed once John began spending more time with them again. Though he thought that John was not the world's best dad and "definitely made a lot of mistakes", the actor noted that "he did things, even when they were wrong, for the good of his sons". John Kubicek of BuddyTV felt that this reasoning extended to John's decision to hide the truth from Adam to protect him. Kubicek also suggested that John became involved in Adam's life to achieve "some level of normalcy" as a father, an opportunity he had previously lost following the death of Sam and Dean's mother.
Regarding his portrayal of the character, Morgan commented, "I played him with extra angst. I think what was on the page, what I foresaw—not knowing where it was going, because no one would ever tell me anything—there was always a lot more going on in his head than he was going to show anybody, including his sons. Because, indeed, there was a lot more going on." Kripke later confirmed this, stating, "It's our view that John knew everything the producers of the show know. John knew stuff we're not even ready to reveal, that won't come out for a couple of seasons. He was an awesome hunter, and by the time he showed up in 'Dead Man's Blood', he knew it all."
In writing the pilot episode, series creator Eric Kripke made several dramatic revisions to John's storyline. The first draft of the script had Sam and Dean being raised by their aunt and uncle, though this was changed when Kripke realized that the backstory became much less complicated by having John raise them on the road. Another revision had John dying at the end of the episode instead of Sam's girlfriend Jessica. Though he survives in the final version of the pilot, the writers decided halfway through production of the first season that John did have to die, as they believed his separation from his sons "split the show" by having him away "doing more interesting things than the boys are doing". Kripke also felt that John kept Sam and Dean away from the "front lines", his death being required to allow the brothers to "explore, investigate and confront the yellow-eyed demon directly". The writers initially intended for John to die in the car accident in "Devil's Trap", but they ultimately postponed his death to prevent the finale from becoming too dark. Following the character's eventual escape from Hell, executive producer Ben Edlund stated that even the writers are unsure of where John's soul ended up.
Evil Dead-actor Bruce Campbell was Kripke's first choice to portray the character. However, Campbell was unavailable, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan eventually received the role. Due to the fact that Morgan's scene in the pilot episode takes place 22 years before the series, Morgan expected to be replaced by an older actor for subsequent episodes. Being only 12 years older than Jensen Ackles, who portrays the eldest son Dean, Morgan was surprised when he was asked to reprise the role. Ackles and Jared Padalecki often teased him about the age difference during filming. Throughout the season, Morgan became frustrated at times due to his character's avoidance of his sons, stating, "It pissed off everybody, it pissed off us as actors, it pissed off the audience watching, because none of us really knew where we were gonna go." However, he reasoned that John's motivation for his actions was due to having knowledge that nobody else had.
During production of Supernatural's first season, Morgan was also working on the shows Weeds and Grey's Anatomy, so he was often traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and Vancouver. This interfered at times with Morgan's acting, as he had trouble getting "Winchester-y enough" after portraying the nice character of Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy. Morgan commented, "I was stuck in Denny-land, where I was being too nice. Winchester's harder to find. Denny's more me. He's an intense guy, John is. And Denny, for a guy who's having trouble living, he's just a charming dude." Morgan was at first reluctant to return for Supernatural's second season due to his role on Grey's Anatomy. Future appearances of the character have been hindered due to his busy schedule, although he lent his voice for the third season episode "Long-Distance Call". Morgan feels that John's storyline ended too soon, and wishes to return for a future season.
While critics praised Morgan for his role, their reaction to the character has generally been mixed. Don Williams of BuddyTV felt that John is a "rather divisive character", with some fans not understanding John's motivation for keeping his sons in the dark. However, Williams himself found the character to be "completely fascinating". He chose "In My Time of Dying" as the second best episode of the series, mainly because of John's contributions, stating, "Even if you're not a huge fan of Poppa Winchester, I think it's impossible not to be moved by the final ten minutes of this episode... John's final speech to Dean, where he finally tells his son that he's proud of him, is one hell of a tear-jerker, and both Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jensen Ackles knock that scene out of the park." Williams praised Matt Cohen's performance of a younger version of the character in the time-travel episode "In the Beginning", believing that he "did an excellent job at portraying a more innocent John Winchester than we've ever seen before".
Diana Steenbergen of IGN also criticized John for his lack of explanation, feeling that "it is not exactly easy to watch John treat Dean and Sam so dismissively, especially after they have been nearly killing themselves all season to find him". However, Steenbergen praised Morgan for his acting, writing, "Even though he is used sparingly throughout the series, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is always effective as John." She also felt that he brought "emotional weight" to the character, allowing the audience to "feel John's weariness, and his resignation that things will most likely not go well". While Brian Tallerico of UGO enjoyed Morgan's performance, he was happy that the character was killed off because John's presence made Sam and Dean into "followers" that were "merely existing in the wake of their father". With their father gone, the brothers are no longer prevented from "heading up the battle with the other side".
"A Very Supernatural Christmas" is the eighth episode of the paranormal drama television series Supernaturals third season. It was first broadcast on The CW on December 13, 2007. The narrative follows series protagonists Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) as they confront a pair of pagan gods (Spencer Garrett and Merrilyn Gann) who annually take human sacrifices.
Written by Jeremy Carver and directed by J. Miller Tobin, the episode was intended to be "the most violent Christmas special in the history of television". Flashbacks were added to the plot when the main storyline came up short, allowing the writers to expand upon the childhoods of a young Sam (Colin Ford) and Dean (Ridge Canipe).
While critics universally praised the flashback sequences and the performances of Ford and Canipe, they had differing opinions of the main storyline.
As the episode opens, a man visits his grandson for Christmas in Seattle, Washington. He dresses up as Santa Claus, but is pulled up the chimney and slaughtered by a mysterious figure. One year later, Sam (Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Ackles) pose as FBI agents to investigate a disappearance in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The discovery of a bloody tooth in the fireplace leads Sam to suspect that an evil version of Santa—many world lores tell of those who punish the wicked during Christmas—is at work. As the brothers search the town and debate about whether to celebrate Christmas that year—Dean insists while Sam refuses—another man is taken by a Santa-dressed being. Upon investigation the following day, Sam notices that both families have the same wreath over their fireplaces. The wreath is found to be made of meadowsweet, an herb often used in pagan rituals to lure gods to a human sacrifice, which leads Sam to believe that they are dealing with Hold Nickar, the god of the winter solstice. Dean later admits that he wants to celebrate Christmas since it will be his last chance to—his demonic pact with a demon in "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" only left him with one year to live. Sam responds that he cannot sit around celebrating and pretending that everything is okay while knowing that Dean will not be alive the next Christmas.
Further investigation and research lead the brothers to Edward (Garrett) and Madge Carrigan (Gann), an apparently perfect couple whom Dean later refers to as "Ozzie and Harriet"; the makers of the meadowsweet wreaths, the Carrigans lived in Seattle a year prior. Realizing that the couple are actually pagan gods, Sam and Dean break into their home, finding human remains in the basement. However, they are captured by the Carrigans and tied to chairs in the kitchen. The gods reveal that they have been attempting to blend into human society, reducing their annual sacrifices to only a few. They begin preparing Sam and Dean to be sacrificed, but are interrupted by a neighbor at the front door. When the Carrigans return, they find that the brothers have broken free. Knowing that the gods can be killed by evergreen wood, Sam and Dean stab them to death with branches of the Christmas tree. Later on, Dean is surprised to find that Sam has decorated their motel room with Christmas paraphernalia. They exchange gifts, all which were bought from the local gas station, and happily watch a football game on TV.
Throughout the episode, flashbacks depict a young Sam (Ford) and Dean (Canipe) on Christmas Eve of 1991; with their father out on a hunt, the brothers are staying alone in a motel room until he returns. As Sam wraps an object he obtained from Bobby Singer as a present for his father, he begins to question Dean about what their father is doing. Although Dean brushes him off, Sam reveals that he has read their father's hunting journal. Dean acquiesces, and confirms that their father hunts monsters. This revelation terrifies Sam, who is afraid that the monsters will come after them. Later that night, Dean wakes Sam up and claims that their father briefly returned and left presents. When Sam's gifts end up being a Barbie doll and a sparkly baton, Dean admits that he stole them from a nearby house. Despite this, Sam appreciates what Dean tried to do for him, and gives him the gift meant for their father—the amulet necklace that Dean has worn ever since.
A fan of Christmas television specials growing up, series creator Eric Kripke desired to make "the most violent Christmas special in the history of television". The myth of the anti-Claus—an evil antithesis of Santa who "stuffs his victims in sacks and takes them off to eat them"—became the episode's inspiration. However, the writers were hesitant to establish the creature as an anti-Claus because it would implicate the existence of an actual Santa Claus. To remedy the dilemma, they incorporated the mythology of the pagan god Hold Nickar, who generally is believed to be the precedent of Santa. Kripke proudly noted that the lore is "one of [their] most accurate" since most Christmas traditions have pagan origins.
Though the episode itself was penned by Jeremy Carver, the writing staff contributed their ideas to the storyline. Within five minutes of brainstorming, they envisioned three scenes they had to do: the teaser, where a grandfather pretending to be Santa is pulled up the chimney and slaughtered; a boy witnessing the Santa-dressed villain brutally killing his father and then eating one of the cookies for Santa; and the Winchesters killing someone with a Christmas tree.
The initial draft of the script focused solely on the brothers' attempts to kill the pagan gods; when the episode came up short, Edlund suggested the addition of flashbacks to Sam and Dean's childhood. The narrative device provided two revelations: the origins of Dean's necklace, and the "beginning of Sam's estrangement from his father and his indoctrination into the supernatural world". Kripke noted that the staff loves to delve into the Winchesters' childhoods, and deemed it "too good an opportunity to pass up" to be able to depict how Sam "lost his innocence". Child actor Ridge Canipe reprised his role as a young Dean, while Colin Ford made his debut as a young Sam. Ford had not viewed the series prior to his audition, but watched the first season to research his character.
Principal filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, and many visuals were influenced by the holiday theme. The "very festive, warm Christmas tones" of the Carrigans' home were intended by set designer Jerry Wanek to create a contrast with the brothers' "little coal-burning old motel". Diane Widas created the costumes, and had fun making the Carrigans' Christmas sweaters "very campy"; Edward's sweater was originally going to be "over-the-top" with 3D snowmen. Because Santa and his elves worked in a "very tired little theme park", the elves were given "ill-fitting" costumes; though new, they were altered to look "shabby". The Santa's "grungy" appearance reflected his drunken state.
Despite the dark storyline, Kripke found it important to maintain the "trappings of ... a really cheery, traditional Christmas special". The spinning "A Special Presentation" title at the beginning of the episode was used by CBS in the 1980s, and Kripke was adamant on including it. Though it was very difficult to find who created and scored it, they eventually received permission. Keeping to the holiday theme, the episode shied away from the usual rock-heavy soundtrack, and instead featured Christmas songs remade in different styles by composer Jay Gruska.
Visual effects shots often are produced but ultimately unused, and the episode was no exception. After Madge is killed, the script describes Edward as screaming her name "in all his godlike glory". The visual effects department interpreted this literally, and had him transforming into a tree creature, "all wooden and gnarled". However, it was deemed "a little too on the nose".
On its initial broadcast, the episode was watched by 3.02 million viewers. It received mixed reviews from critics. Julie Pyle of Airlock Alpha "really enjoyed" the "well directed, well written" episode, and "[giggled] with glee in anticipation of each ghastly Christmas nightmare". Although she continued her criticism of the third season's brighter lighting, she deemed it overall "another Christmas tradition to watch every year with our Charlie Brown Christmas DVDs". Tina Charles of TV Guide enjoyed the monster of the week, but was "hooked" on the brothers' storylines. She noted that Ford's casting as a young Sam was "perfect", and felt that Canipe's performance as a young Dean had improved since his previous appearance in the first season. Likewise, Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune called it one of the "gems" of the third season. However, Karla Peterson of The San Diego Union-Tribune disagreed, and gave the episode a C-. While she enjoyed the flashback sequences and praised Canipe and Ford for their "fierce little performances", Peterson posited that the main storyline "seemed slapped together" and the pacing "felt sluggish". Overall, she found it to be "your basic TV fruitcake—a dense combination of half-baked dialogue and stale storytelling studded with chewy bits of sentimentality".
What Is and What Should Never Be
Azazel is a fictional character on The CW Television Network's drama and horror television series Supernatural. He serves as the primary antagonist during the first two seasons. A demon, he feeds his blood to infants so that they will grow up to develop demonic abilities. His endgame of using one such child to release Lucifer is not revealed until much later in the series. Azazel is referred to by nicknames such as "The Demon", "The Yellow-Eyed Demon", or "Yellow Eyes" throughout the first two seasons, his true name not being revealed until the third season. Due to the character's demonic nature of taking different hosts, Azazel has been portrayed by numerous actors, but all have maintained his sadistic sense of humor and Jack Nicholson-like mannerisms. Critics and fans alike have met him with nearly universal praise.
The tyrannical leader of the demon world, Azazel first appears in the pilot episode of the series, but plot devices such as flashbacks and time travel detail his background in later seasons. His earliest chronological depiction occurs in the fourth season finale, "Lucifer Rising". Having spent years searching, Azazel (Rob LaBelle) finally located the doorway to Lucifer's prison in 1972. The fallen angel tasked him with freeing the demon Lilith from Hell—she is needed to break the 66 seals holding Lucifer captive—and to find him a "special child". By the following year, he began making demonic pacts with young individuals; in exchange for a wish, he would be allowed to enter their homes ten years later. Azazel (Christopher B. MacCabe) eventually comes across Mary Campbell, the future mother of series protagonists Sam and Dean Winchester. After taking possession of her father (Mitch Pileggi), he kills her mother and stabs himself to kill his host. Mary's fiance, John Winchester, is the demon's next victim. However, Azazel makes his usual offer, giving her the chance to resurrect John; she reluctantly agrees.
In 1983, Mary discovers Azazel standing over baby Sam's crib; he had been feeding his blood to the infant. Upon being interrupted, the demon pins her to the ceiling, slashes her stomach and causes her to burst into flames. Mary's death inspires John to dedicate his life to hunting down Azazel, at the same time training Sam and Dean to hunt supernatural creatures. As revealed in the fifth season finale, "Swan Song", Azazel sent demons to possess important people in Sam's life, secretly manipulating him as he grew up. However, Sam eventually leaves the life of hunting to attend college. Azazel orders the assassination of Sam's girlfriend Jess, whose death prompts Sam to return to hunting after leaving the life to attend college.
Because demons cannot be killed by conventional means, the Winchesters track down the Colt—a mystic gun capable of killing anything—in "Dead Man's Blood". In the following episode, "Salvation", they trace the omens caused by the demon's presence to Salvation, Iowa. Like he has done with Sam and countless others, Azazel plans to visit a six-month old and feed it his blood so the child will later develop demonic abilities. Although Sam interrupts the demon's plans and saves the family, Azazel teleports away to avoid being shot. Meanwhile, the demonic Meg Masters and her "brother" Tom kidnap John, and then set their sights on Sam and Dean.
Meg tracks the brothers down in the season finale, but they capture her within the titular devil's trap—mystical symbols capable of rendering a demon powerless—and exorcise her. The real Meg, now dying from previously-sustained injuries, discloses John's location. Sam and Dean rescue him—they are cautious and test him with holy water to make sure he is not possessed—and are forced to kill Tom in the process. After being taken to a secluded location, however, John is revealed to be possessed. An angry Azazel chastises them for killing Meg and Tom—he deems them his "children"—and begins to torture the brothers. John temporarily retakes control, giving Sam the opportunity to grab the Colt. Unable to kill his father, Sam shoots John in the leg, and the demon flees from his host. As the Winchesters make their escape, a demonically-possessed truck driver crashes into their car. Dean is left dying in a coma, forcing John to sell his soul and the Colt to save him. Azazel (Fredric Lehne) takes possession of a Reaper (Lindsey McKeon) and saves Dean from death.
Azazel's last appearance chronologically is in the second season finale "All Hell Breaks Loose", where he kidnaps Sam and the other young adults that he had infected. He visits Sam in a dream, and reveals that his "special children" must fight to the death to determine who will lead his army. Although Sam is the demon's favorite, the super-strong Jake Talley becomes the winner. As Dean sells his soul to another demon in exchange for Sam's resurrection, Azazel gives Jake the Colt and coerces him to travel to a cemetery in the middle of a giant devil's trap. Though Sam and Dean, along with other hunters, attempt to stop him, Jake uses the Colt as a key to unlock a mausoleum there. This action briefly opens a gateway to Hell, releasing Lilith and hundreds of other demons. With the devil's trap around the cemetery now broken, Azazel confronts the Winchesters and easily overpowers them. However, John's soul also escapes through the Gate, and distracts Azazel long enough for Dean to shoot him dead with the Colt.
Azazel returns in the sixth season premiere, "Exile on Main St.", as an illusion in Dean's mind caused by a poison of the creature he was hunting. Dean sees Azazel killing Lisa like he did his mother and poisoning Ben with demon blood, like he did to his brother.
Deeming Azazel to be "an angry soul", actor Fredric Lehne believes that him being "denied Heaven and everything else that's good in the universe" has "[translated] into anger and vengeance". A demon with a sense of humor, he takes pleasure in seeing people suffer. "The more pain—mostly psychological pain—he causes, the happier he is," Lehne explained. "He gets off on the power of turning people to his will." This quality suggests to the actor why the demon favored Sam as the potential leader of his army. Being the "most ripe for picking" because he had the "sweetest" heart, Sam was "most desirable for corrupting" of all the children. "If I could turn him," Lehne noted, "then I had truly won."
Though the writers modeled Azazel's personality after Al Pacino's demonic sense of humor in the film The Devil's Advocate, they gave actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan free rein over the character's mannerisms for "Devil's Trap". Only directed to "be different from John", Morgan changed his voice and mimicked Jack Nicholson's "freaky" speech pattern from The Shining. This "Nicholson-esque quality" continues with actor Fredric Lehne. Though uncertain of why he was specifically sought out—Lehne chalks it up to his previous working experience with executive producers Kim Manners and Robert Singer—the role was offered to him without an audition. The actor avoided copying Morgan's portrayal, but noted that the writing "lends itself to doing it in a certain way". Since Azazel changes human hosts periodically, Lehne's initial appearance in the second season premiere, "In My Time of Dying", was intended to be a one-time deal. Thoroughly impressed, however, the show runners kept him for the season finale. A minor scheduling conflict forced him to film his scenes with Morgan in "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" a month apart using green screen. Despite the character's death, Lehne returned to the role in the sixth season premiere as a hallucination.
A dream sequence in "All Hell Breaks Loose" hints at Mary Winchester's connection to Azazel. Although the writers intended to address this in the third season, it was pushed back to the fourth season episode "In the Beginning" due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Mitch Pileggi was asked by Kripke to enact this revelation—the two had previously worked together on the series Tarzan—and the actor accepted because Kim Manners and much of the Supernatural crew had also worked on The X-Files. While Pileggi emulated Lehne's performance, he also tried to "put his own spin on it".
Morgan, Lehne, and actress Lindsey McKeon wore hard, colored contact lenses during their portrayals of Azazel. The lenses eventually became painful, and would greatly obscure their vision. The production crew placed sandbags on the floor to help Morgan and Lehne locate their marks, and a grip held Lehne's hand as he walked around a campfire in "All Hell Breaks Loose". McKeon's brief scene in "In My Time of Dying"—she touches actor Jensen Ackles' forehead—took nine takes to film because she kept missing. Although Pileggi was fitted for the lenses, production ultimately added the effect digitally at "appropriate moments".
Azazel has been met with universal praise from critics and fans alike, with the latter voting him as the best villain of the series in a poll conducted by BuddyTV. "[You] have to realize that without YED there would be no reason for the boys to hunt in the first place," viewers wrote, also calling him the "oldest arch nemesis" and a "classic supernatural badass".
Both Karla Peterson of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune felt that Morgan gave "his best and most believable performance of the season" in "Devil's Trap", with the latter adding, "He was really on fire in that scene, and it brought a whole new intensity to his performance." Diana Steenbergen of IGN found him "menacing, with his low voice and the cruel words ... trying to tear them apart emotionally before tearing Dean apart literally", and enjoyed the sadistic and "vicious humor" that makes the character "more sinister". However, she believed that Azazel having a family was an unnecessary parallel with the Winchesters that "doesn't quite make sense". After viewing the episode, Brian Tallerico of UGO gave his opinion that the series should follow Buffy the Vampire Slayers format of having a different recurring villain each season. "If the firestarting demon is the Big Bad for the first two seasons, that's fine," he commented, "but don't drag it out longer than that. Fans will get bored. And there's nothing scarier than that.
Tina Charles of TV Guide was happy to see the "appropriately creepy" Lehne return to the role in "All Hell Breaks Loose". "The second he popped in at ghost town central," she wrote, "the scare factor went up." Likewise, Tom Burns of UGO deemed all of Lehne's scenes "damn near riveting", while Brett Love of TV Squad described him as "a perfect evil menace". Pileggi's casting in "In the Beginning" was "a cool move" for Charles, who found his performance "scary". According to publicists of Warner Bros., the fans "were very happy with what [they] did" in the episode.