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Recap / Supernatural S 05 E 21 Two Minutes To Midnight

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 5, Episode 21

Two Minutes to Midnight
"Join me, Dean. The pizza's delicious."

Dean: So, please tell us you have actual good news.
Bobby: Chicago is about to be wiped off the map. Storm of the millennium. Sets off a daisy chain of natural disasters. Three million people are gonna die.
Castiel: I don't understand your definition of good news.
Bobby: Death. He's gonna be there.

Written by Sera Gamble.

Directed by Phil Sgriccia.

Air Date: May 6, 2010.

Dean gets a call from Castiel, who has finally lost enough of his angel mojo that he can't teleport from the hospital he's in. Sam and Dean go after Pestilence and, with Cas's help, manage to take his ring. Crowley shows up; turns out Bobby took him up on the offer and traded his soul for Death's location. While Sam, Bobby, and Cas stop the shipment of the vaccines full of Croatoan, Dean and Crowley go to Chicago to take on Death. They find him in a pizza parlor. Dean quickly realizes that there's no way he could ever kill this guy. Lucky that Death has no intention of fighting. Tired of being Lucifer's prisoner, he gives Dean his ring on one condition: that he allow Sam to go forward with his plan to say yes to Lucifer and step into the Cage.


Body count

For this episode = 16 humans and 3 demons.

For the series so far = At least 407 humans (of which 6 were witches), 65 demons, 33 ghosts, 19 zombies, 13 gods, 11 vampires, 10 angels, 9 hellhounds, 6 changelings, 3 shapeshifters, 2 ghouls, 2 werewolves, 2 dogs, 1 crocotta, 1 djinn, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 wendigo, 1 whore of Babylon, and 1 wraith.


  • Affably Evil: While he isn't really "evil" (True Neutral would be a better way to describe him), Death kills a guy for bumping into him and kills an entire restaurant of people so he can eat his pizza in peace, but he's fairly polite to Dean after making it clear that he won't stand for being insulted. He even ends up offering to give Dean his ring.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "What exactly are you afraid of? Losing? Or losing your brother?"
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  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Death is a gaunt, older gentleman who dresses like a mortician and drives a pale, white car.
  • Avenging the Villain: Pestilence is determined to kill Sam and Dean because they dispatched his two brothers, War and Famine.
  • Badass Boast: Death gives one to Dean, in which he claims that he will reap God at the end of time. Dean is fairly taken aback by this.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit/Badass Longcoat: Death is wearing a black suit and longcoat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Double subverted. Sam and Dean are curled up on the floor, too sick to even touch Pestilence. Cue Castiel entering... and then promptly doubling over sick himself. Just it when Pestilence is gloating about how Cas is powerless, Cas snatches up the demon-killing knife and slices off Pestilence's fingers.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Castiel spits blood onto the floor when infected by Pestilence.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Castiel beautifully one-shots a Croatoan infectee trying to kill Sam.
  • Brainless Beauty: Crowley's opinion of the brothers: "You two are lucky you have your looks".
  • Brought Down to Badass: Even though Castiel has become more or less human, he still kicks some serious ass.
  • Call-Back: Crowley refers to himself as King of the Crossroads, establishing that he was not just Lilith's Number Two but is actually the highest-ranking crossroads demon. While attention isn't called to it, this actually makes the normal crossroad demon's remarks in "Bedtime Stories" about her "boss" having Dean's contract instead of her finally make sense. Lilith was claimed in the third season to have held all contracts including Dean's, but as she was female, she couldn't have been the boss that demon specifically referred to as male. As King of the Crossroads, Crowley would have been that demon's "boss" and as "Abandon All Hope" showed, he is both controlling enough to want to deal personally with "the big fishes" (so he would want to hold onto Dean Winchester's soul himself, especially after that particular demon had already broken a contract because of Dean) and has the self preservation to not put himself in danger (by not responding to Dean's summons personally to make the deal or appearing when the Winchesters were trying to break Dean's deal). It's unclear if means Lilith claimed Dean's and the other contracts from Crowley after Crowley joined her campaign, or if the Winchesters' attack on Lilith in "No Rest for the Wicked" was a Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story based off Lilith lying to Bela and Ruby lying to Sam about who had the contracts that ultimately just guaranteed Dean dying and going to Hell.
  • Cool Car: Death drives an immaculate ash-white 1959 Cadillac El Dorado with plates reading "BUH*BYE" As a Genius Bonus, a white 1959 Cadillac El Dorado is known as the Death Car. That's right: Death drives a Death Car.
  • Cosmic Entity: Death. He makes it clear that there are countless other planets and galaxies that he could concern himself with. The main reason he agrees to help Dean is because, in this incarnation(a Horseman), he's partially under Lucifer's control and considers that an insult.
  • Covered in Gunge: Pestilence gets splattered with... something when the woman he's experimenting on dies. He wipes it off, but doesn't really seem to mind at all.
  • Deal with the Devil: Bobby concludes one with Crowley so he can provide intel on Death's location.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Death reveals that Lucifer managed to trap him into his servitude. Death, who is very annoyed that he's been leashed by a petulant child with daddy issues (...yes, that is how Death perceives the Devil), proves that it's not a good idea to piss off an eternal and infinite force of nature by actually helping Sam and Dean imprison Lucifer again.
    • Played with in Dean's case. He agrees to the idea of letting Sam become Lucifer's vessel in order to get Death's ring, then when talking to Bobby makes it clear he lied. However, Bobby and Castiel think the idea has merit, and Dean appears to be at least considering the option at the end of the episode.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Dean has his discussion with Death over some pizza. It's very good pizza.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Death tells Dean matter-of-factly that, at the end of time, he will reap God. Even Dean is taken aback by this.
  • Enemies with Death: Dean hunts down Death so he can kill him and take his ring. When he finally meets the Grim Reaper, it turns out that things don't work that way in the Supernatural universe.
  • Enemy Mine: As in previous episodes, Sam and Dean are teaming up with the thoroughly-evil Crowley only because Lucifer is a far bigger threat.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Death gets one as he enters Chicago. He parks his Horseman car, a white Cadillac, and goes on foot. When a rude guy bumps into him, Death makes a small gesture with his hand and the guy drops dead.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Pestilence is hinted to have some affection for the demon accompanying him when he hugs her. He also cares a great deal about his brothers, the other Horsemen.
    Demon Nurse: They have a track record with Horsemen.
    Pestilence: You mean my brothers. What they did to my brothers. No. The only reasonable thing to do here is to...take it out of their healthy young asses.
    Demon Nurse: We're under strict orders not to kill the vessels.
    Pestilence: Oh, if Satan wants them so bad, he can GLUE THEM BACK TOGETHER!
  • Exact Time to Failure: Pestilence counts down the seconds to when one of his victims dies.
  • Feet-First Introduction: When Castiel arrives to save Sam and Dean from Pestilence.
  • Fingore: Castiel takes a knife to Pestilence's fingers.
  • The Fog of Ages: Death can't remember if he is as old as or older than God. God, apparently, doesn't know either.
  • The Grim Reaper: Reapers have long been established in the show, but this is the first time that we are introduced to their leader, Death himself.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Team Free Will confront the last two horsemen, Pestilence and Death.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Death. It's implied that he's something far more terrifying, but at least he presents himself in human form. Though this may only be so he can have pizza.
  • Humanity Ensues: After his previous altercation with other angels in "Point of No Return" (S05, E18), Castiel turns up in a hospital and finds that he has become pretty much human. He shows that there's just enough angel left inside him to resist Pestilence's powers.
  • Indy Ploy:
    Bobby: Okay. First truck don't leave for an hour. We get in, we plant the c-4 every 25 feet, then we pull the fire alarm.
    Bobby: Balls! Okay, new plan.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Death considers Earth to be an incredibly young planet that barely registers on the cosmic radar.
  • Leitmotif: Death is given a techno version of the bluegrass song "Oh Death", performed here by Jen Titus, which is used in his introductory scene.
  • Misery Poker: When Cas complains about how useless he is now that he's human, Bobby reminds him that he's not the one who can't walk.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Did you kiss him?" He did.
  • Mundane Solution: "How did you get here?" "I took the bus."
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Pestilence loses his ring, all of Sam, Dean, and Cas's diseases vanish instantly.
    • Chicago is being pummeled with a massive storm, but as soon as Death hands over his ring to Dean, the torrents of rain vanish almost instantly.
    • Justified, in that taking War and Famine's rings took their powers as well, and that Death is a cosmic entity of absurd power.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dean has this reaction when he drops Death's scythe. It continues nonstop throughout the entire conversation.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: "You just gonna sit there?"
  • Pet the Dog: Crowley reveals that he added an additional clause to Bobby's contract: regaining the use of his legs.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death: Dean tries to kill Death, unaware that he could've gotten what he wanted without killing him, as they both had a common interest in stopping the "bratty child" (Lucifer). Dean assumes that Death would be angry at this, but it turns out the problem with a human fighting Death is that the human just doesn't matter.
    Dean: Is this the part where you kill me?
    Death: [after staring at him incredulously] You have an inflated sense of your importance. To a thing like me, a thing like you...well. Think how you'd feel if a bacterium sat at your table and started to get snarky.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Death. Even though Dean tried to kill him, Death willingly gives Dean his ring and gives him advice on how to stop Lucifer.
  • The Reveal: Crowley took a selfie of him kissing Bobby. Cue looks of amazement from Dean & Sam.
    Bobby: Why'd you take a picture?!
  • Revenge Before Reason: The demon nurse points out that they're under strict orders not to kill the vessels. Pestilence is so angry at what they did to War and Famine, he doesn't particularly care about Lucifer's reaction.
  • Running Gag: Sam gets syphilis in this episode. This is the third time Sam has gotten an STD this season. The others were "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" (E07) (gonorrhea) and "Changing Channels" (E08) (genital herpes).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once he realizes that Death isn't where he expected, Crowley is fully prepared to blow town to avoid the ensuing destruction. Then even after he finds Death, he takes off and leaves Dean to deal with the situation by himself.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Crowley does it a lot in this episode.
  • Stealth Pun: The guy who bumped into Death and died has a "brush with Death".
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Pestilence.
    Pestilence: If Satan wants them so bad he can GLUE THEM BACK TOGETHER!
  • Tested on Humans: Pestilence uses an old lady in a nursing home as a living (well, not for long) petri dish.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Type 4. After Bobby makes a deal for Death's location, Crowley returns Bobby's ability to walk as an added bonus.
  • Time Abyss: Death has existed since at least the dawn of time.
    Death: This is one little planet, in one tiny solar system, in a galaxy that's barely out of its diapers. I'm old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you.
    Dean: I gotta ask, how old are you?
    Death: As old as God. Maybe older. Neither of us can remember anymore. Life, Death, chicken, egg.
  • Villain Pedigree: As Sam and Dean head off on separate missions - to stop a zombie outbreak and face down The Grim Reaper - Sam asks Dean if he remembers the old days when they used to just hunt wendigos.
  • Walking Wasteland:
    • Pestilence becomes this when he turns on his ring's powers. This immediately causes everyone in the vicinity to develop painful and horrific diseases. Sam and Dean are both incapacitated when they get too close to him.
    • Death goes to get some food at a diner. When Dean enters he finds that everyone in the room died in Death's presence.
  • Weapon Stomp: Pestilence stomps on Dean's fingers as he tries to grab the demon-killing knife.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit or Heroic Second Wind: Castiel defeating Pestilence.
  • You Are Too Late: Pestilence eerily tells the boys they're too late before vanishing. This prompts them to worry, but fortunately for them, Crowley figures out what he meant.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: This is revealed to be Pestilence's plan, using the cover of a swine flu vaccine to spread the Croatoan virus everywhere.

Video Example(s):



Death, also known as the Pale Horseman and The Angel of Death, was the oldest and most powerful member of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and an ancient primordial entity of immense power. Having existed since the beginning of time alongside God, Death is so old he cannot remember who is older: himself or God.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HorsemenOfTheApocalypse

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Main / HorsemenOfTheApocalypse