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Recap / Supernatural S 05 E 01 Sympathy For The Devil

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 5, Episode 1

Sympathy For The Devil

Castiel: You two need to be more careful.
Dean: Yeah ... I'm starting to get that, your frat brothers are bigger dicks than I thought.

Written by Eric Kripke.

Directed by Robert Singer.

Air Date: September 10, 2009.

Lucifer's prison has been opened by Sam's successful attempt to kill Lilith. As the gate to Hell fully opens, the Winchester brothers are rescued by an unknown force and teleported into an airplane, watching the start of the Apocalypse in horror. In an encounter with the prophet Chuck, it is revealed that Castiel was blown to pieces by an archangel. When they try to figure out what to do next, they are attacked by their old enemy Meg and a possessed Bobby. The brothers learn that there is a weapon strong enough to defeat the Devil—Michael's Sword. They set off to find it, but instead burst upon Zachariah, who reveals that Dean is in fact Michael's Sword, the human vessel of the Archangel Michael. However, he refuses to provide his mind and body for the angels' plans, even when Zachariah threatens to kill Sam and Bobby. As Zachariah begins to torture Sam and Dean, Castiel, miraculously revived, appears, kills his two angel underlings, and and orders him to leave. Meanwhile, Lucifer is trying to convince his own vessel, a man whose family has been slaughtered by a killer, to let him take over his body so he can face God and seek justice.


Body count

For this episode = 2 angels, 4 humans and 2 demons.

For the series so far = At least 322 humans (of which 5 were witches), 39 demons, 28 ghosts, 10 vampires, 6 changelings, 4 angels, 3 gods, 3 shapeshifters, 3 zombies, 2 ghouls, 2 werewolves, 2 dogs, 1 crocotta, 1 djinn, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, and 1 wendigo.


  • Back from the Dead:
    • Dean's knee-jerk reaction to the smug brunette demon is to assume that Ruby has come back somehow after he killed her in the previous episode. Subverted when it is revealed that the demon is actually Meg, whom we last saw in season two.
    • On the other hand, Castiel is resurrected by God.
  • Big Damn Hero: Zachariah is torturing Dean and Sam in order to get Dean to agree to being Michael's vessel, and there's not a damn thing they can do about it. Cue a freshly-resurrected Castiel appearing to kick angel ass and force Zachariah to back off.
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  • Blood from the Mouth: Dean vomits blood when Zachariah gives him stage four stomach cancer.
  • The Bus Came Back: Meg returns.
  • Call-Back:
    • John's lock-up at Castle Storage from "Bad Day at Black Rock" (S03, E03) reappears as the place where Michael's sword is.
    • In this episode, Dean's father-figure gets possessed by a demon and tries to kill him, but manages to resist it out of love for Dean. This references "Devil's Trap" (S01, E22), all the way back to the first season finale, wherein Dean's biological father gets possessed by a demon and tries to kill him, but manages to resist it out of love for Dean. This will become very important later in the season.
  • The Chosen One:
    • Dean, who is the one destined to kill Lucifer because he is Michael's vessel.
    • Also, Nick is called this for Lucifer by a demon. He gets Lucifer in his body thanks to having passed the Despair Event Horizon with his family's death.
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  • Dead Person Impersonation: Lucifer assumes the form of Nick's dead wife, Sarah, to talk to him.
  • Death of a Child: Nick and Sarah's baby dies.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Nick's wife and infant child were killed in what appears to have been a home-invasion. Wanting God to answer for this seems to be his reason for consenting to Lucifer's request.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What happened to Cas, according to Chuck. He picks a tooth out of his hair.
    Chuck: He, like, exploded. Like a water balloon of chunky soup.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lucifer is a very effective one. To attain permission from his vessel, he doesn't force Nick to say yes as Zachariah does; he gains Nick's sympathy and offers to get justice for them both. He eventually convinces Nick and Nick agrees to letting Lucifer possess him. Then again, despite his apparent gentleness, he still doesn't go about it in the nicest way: he causes Nick to have nightmares/hallucinations concerning his murdered baby and appears to him as Nick's murdered wife, to manipulate him.
  • Meaningful Name: Nick becomes Lucifer's vessel. One of the Devil's nicknames is Old Nick.
  • Shout Out: To Galaxy Quest:
    Becky: Look, Mr. Edlund. Yes, I'm a fan, but I really don't appreciate being mocked. I know that Supernatural's just a book, okay? I know the difference between fantasy and reality.
    Chuck: Becky, it's all real.
    Becky: I knew it!
  • Squick: In-Universe. Chuck is disgusted to find a molar in his hair.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Lucifer convinces Nick that Satan is Good and was wronged by God.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Like all angels, Lucifer has the power to talk to people in dreams. In this case, he talks to his vessel, Nick.
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
  • Titled After the Song: "Sympathy For The Devil" by The Rolling Stones.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Before this episode, Castiel is effective a few times but also gets beaten up a lot. Here, he pops up from being presumed dead, kills two angels with brutal efficiency, and intimidates freaking Zachariah into running scared. It helps that Zachariah knows Castiel was killed by the ArchAngels and there is only one being who could have brought him back like that.
  • Understatement: When Chuck finds a molar in his hair.
    Chuck: This has been a really stressful day.
  • Villains Never Lie: Lucifer states that "contrary to popular belief, I don't lie. I don't need to." Throughout the series, it's not that he never lies, he just usually obsesses over Exact Words and his own biased viewpoint.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Lucifer's rise triggers a number of disasters, including North Korea succeeding for the first time in a nuclear weapons test.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Who writes Sibling Incest Slash Fic.

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