Reapers

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Reaper
Powers and Abilities Can reap souls, stop time, teleport, and alter human perception. Invisible to living humans.
Vulnerabilities Can be killed by Death's scythe, angel blades, and the First Blade.
Can be bound by spells and Enochian symbols.
Appearance Can alter how humans perceive them, can possess someone, or manifest in a physical body.
Episode(s) 1.12 Faith
2.01 In My Time of Dying
4.15 Death Takes a Holiday
5.10 Abandon All Hope...
5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight
6.11 Appointment in Samarra
7.10 Death's Door
8.19 Taxi Driver
9.03 I'm No Angel
9.22 Stairway to Heaven
11.02 Form and Void
11.10 The Devil in the Details
11.17 Red Meat
11.23 Alpha and Omega
12.06 Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox
12.09 First Blood
13.05 Advanced Thanatology
13.19 Funeralia
14.10 Nihilism

Dean: We're dealing with a reaper.

Sam: You really think it's the Grim Reaper? Like, angel of death, collect your soul, the whole deal?

Dean: No no no, not the reaper, a reaper. There's reaper lore in pretty much every culture on Earth, it goes by 100 different names, it's possible that there's more than one of them.

Dean and Sam, 1.12 Faith

History

Reapers are divine supernatural beings. They are responsible for escorting deceased souls to the afterlife, and they refuse – or are unable – to tell the deceased what awaits them, reapers allow the deceased to choose to accompany them, or to remain in the Veil as ghosts, which eventually leads to the spirit becoming a vengeful spirit.

According to Castiel, reapers gather in groups "at times of great catastrophe" or distress, and he lists the Chicago Fire of 1871, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, and the destruction of Pompeii as examples.[1] Reapers can appear to a dying person in any form,[2] as well possess a human or appear in their own corporal form to the living.[3][4]

While reapers serve Death and are not aligned with Heaven or Hell, however they were locked out of Heaven with the other angels when Metatron enacted his spell. Their origins are unclear, and it is also unknown what relationship, if any, they have to other beings such as God or Fate.

In recent years, some reapers have become rogue operators, collecting souls or moving them between Heaven and Hell for a price.[5] Some reapers also appear to work as bounty hunters, to which Dean refers to them as the "Delta Force of reapers."[6] The reason for this changed behavior could be a side-effect the Apocalypse being averted; as according to Balthazar in the year following Lucifer's re-imprisonment:

"It's a new era. No rules, no destiny. Just utter and complete freedom."[7]

Characteristics

Section on reapers from John's Journal.

A reaper's true form appears to be incorporeal and spirit-like, with a white aura surrounding them. They take on the more human appearances as a way to make it easier to convince a soul to pass on to the next plane of existence. While the majority of reapers that have been seen have been male, they do appear to have different genders, as Death has referred to the reaper Tessa as female. Upon death a reaper will give off a blinding light from their body.[8][9]

Rogue reapers also appear to have additional capabilities, according to the angel Bartholomew:

"Some of you have taken your skill set to a whole new level..."

Powers and abilities

  • Chronokinesis – Reapers are capable of stopping time.[10]
  • Dreamwalking – Reapers are capable of entering a human's subconcious while they are dreaming or in a dream-like state.[11]
  • Healing – A reaper is capable of transferring a person's life force to another, effectively healing them of any injuries or sickness.
  • Invisibility – Reapers can render themselves invisible to humans unless the person is near death or in spirit/astral projection form. Reapers may also become visible at their own discretion to mortals.[10][12][13]
  • Necrokinesis – Reapers can kill with a simple touch.
  • Perception altering – Reapers are capable of altering human perception to make themselves appear any way they wish.[12] This is usually done as a means of easier communication with the deceased, as their true form can be frightening.
  • Possession – While reapers can make their presence visible outside of the Veil, they are also capable of possessing humans.[14][15]
  • Resurrection – Though antithetical to their purpose, reapers can bring people back to life, though it is usually only done under duress.[12][15]
  • Soul awareness – Reapers are experts at tracking down souls, intuitively knowing when a person is supposed to die.[16] The reaper Billie was able to collect a few 100,000 souls from the Veil to be used for the soul bomb to stop Amara / the Darkness.
  • Telekinesis – Reapers can influence their surroundings with their minds, with a gesture a reaper can throw a grown man clear across a room.[15]
  • Teleportation – Reapers can teleport anywhere in existence, allowing them access to Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the Veil and the Empty.[13]
Lore on the death of a Reaper.

Vulnerabilities

  • Angel blade – Reapers are vulnerable to angel blades, and can be killed by them.[14][17]
  • Angel cuffs – Special handcuffs etched with spellwork are capable of nullifying a reapers powers.
  • Archangels – The Michael of Apocalypse World claimed to have trapped Death and enslaved the reapers on his world.
  • Death's scythe – Reapers, like all beings, can be stuck down with Death's scythe.[13]
  • Demons – Reapers can also be possessed by demons, although the only demon that was known to be capable of doing this was Azazel, who, being a Prince of Hell, is more powerful than the average demon.
  • The First Blade – Wielded by someone with the Mark of Cain, the First Blade can kill a reaper.
  • Spells – Reapers can be bound by spells.[18] The witch Rowena was also able to kill reapers by using a spell that incinerated them.
  • Reaper trap – Reapers can be rendered powerless and vulnerable inside of a reaper trap.[13][19]

Episodes

1.12 Faith

Sue-Ann Le Grange uses black magic to harness a reaper. She turns her husband Roy Le Grange into a faith healer by forcing the reaper to kill people whom she thinks are immoral and transfer their life force to Roy's ailing supplicants. A dying Dean is saved in this manner. The reaper is released when Sam smashes her necklace, and it kills her.

2.01 In My Time of Dying

A reaper appears as a young woman calling itself Tessa, and tries to help Dean crossover. She tells him that souls who refuse to move on become vengeful spirits. Azazel possesses Tessa in order to return Dean to his body and fulfill his end of the deal with John.

4.15 Death Takes a Holiday

Tessa turns up when a reaper in a small town disappears, and the fatally injured people in the vicinity stop dying. She is kidnapped by Alastair. Killing two reapers under a solstice moon is one of the 66 Seals. A ritual is performed, and the implement for killing is a scythe. According to Alastair, it belongs to Death one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

An old friend lent it to me. You know, he doesn't really ride a pale horse, but he does have three amigos.

Alastair, 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday

While the first reaper is killed, Sam and Dean manage to save Tessa, who then begins reaping those who should already have died.

5.10 Abandon All Hope...

Reapers appear en masse in Carthage, Missouri as Lucifer prepares to summon Death.

5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight

Crowley sees a neighborhood in Chicago "swarming with reapers." Death is in town planning to unleash a storm and other natural disasters that will kill 3 million people.

6.11 Appointment in Samarra

Tessa is summoned by Dean, who wants to contact Death. She later escorts him around so he can experience Death's rounds.

7.10 Death's Door

After Bobby is shot in the head by Dick Roman, he slips into a coma. While traversing his own mind, Bobby's Reaper appears before him, intending to take him to the afterlife. The reaper reveals that due to Bobby's condition, it is unable to reap him through conventional means, and had to enter his mind to retrieve him. Bobby, needing to pass on a message to Dean and Sam, refuses to go with it and flees further into his own mind, much to the reaper's irritation. Later, Bobby manages to temporarily imprison the being using a spell he had learned, in an attempt to slow it down. The reaper is not concerned, as Bobby's deteriorating mind would eventually free him. Instead, it warns Bobby that he would become a ghost if he continued to persist, and assured him that he had done enough for the world and the boys. Bobby, disregarding himself, refuses and goes through the last door in his mind. After he wakes up and eventually slips back into the coma, the reaper is there waiting for him. It attempts to convince Bobby to move on one last time, assuring him that the Winchesters would be just fine without him, and warning him that he had just one last memory left. Bobby's answer is not heard.

8.19 Taxi Driver

Crossroads Demon: Rogue reapers. They got secret ways, in and out. Not just Hell -- the Veil, Heaven.

Sam: Rogue reapers smuggling people?
Crossroads Demon: People, souls...

Sam: So, what? They're like Hell coyotes?

Crossroads Demon to Sam, 8.19 Taxi Driver

Needing to sneak into Hell, Sam and Dean approach rogue reaper Ajay to take them after learning that he and other rogue reapers transport mortals and souls in and out of Heaven and Hell for a price. Sam and Dean learn that when they burned Bobby Singer's flask, Ajay took his soul to Hell on Crowley's orders. Ajay agrees to take Sam to Hell on the terms that the Winchesters will owe him a favor in the future. Sam agrees and Ajay takes him to Purgatory where a portal to Hell exists that acts as a backdoor. Ajay tells Sam to meet him where he dropped him off in exactly 24 hours and leaves, however, Crowley learns of the deal from one of his minions and questions Ajay. After learning that he helped Sam sneak into Hell and that he is due to pick him up, Crowley kills the reaper with an angel blade to prevent the pick-up and trap Sam in Purgatory (Although Sam and Bobby manage to escape after Dean kills his Vampire ally Benny Lafitte to guide Sam and Bobby out of Purgatory).

9.03 I'm No Angel

In order to find Castiel, Bartholomew hires rogue reapers to hunt for him. One reaper named Maurice follows Sam and Dean, but is captured by them after they notice him following them. Dean tortures him with an angel blade for information and after Maurice tells him all he knows, Dean stabs him through the neck with the blade, killing him.

Another reaper possesses a woman named April Kelly and locates Castiel. She pretends to take him in and has sex with him, but the next morning ties him up and tortures him for information on Metatron with his angel blade. Castiel tells her he didn't know what Metatron was doing and that he doesn't know the spell that he used to expel all angels from Heaven, but that as his grace was the final ingredient, he may be the key to reversing it. At that moment, Sam and Dean arrive to rescue Castiel, but Castiel is killed by the reaper with the angel blade, and then proceeds to disarm Dean of his own angel blade and flings him and Sam across the room. However, while she is distracted with Sam, Dean kills her with the angel blade she had used on Castiel. Ezekiel then resurrects Castiel and heals the damage the reaper did to him.

9.22 Stairway to Heaven

The reaper Tessa revealed to Dean that with Heaven boarded up, not even reapers are able to gain entry to ferry the souls of the dead. This caused the souls to become trapped in the Veil, this eventually built up to the point that Tessa became suicidal because she could hear the screams and the confusion and pain of the lost souls. At some point she was captured by Metatron and brainwashed into becoming a suicide bomber for Castiel's cause.

11.02 Form and Void

A reaper named Billie appears to Sam in a hospital, telling him that while Death found their constant resurrections humorous, with his demise there is only one rule in the universe -- "What lives, dies." Billie informs Sam that if he or Dean dies, they won't be going to Heaven or Hell , but will be thrown in the Empty so they cannot return, due to their role in killing Death. Billie tells Sam she knows he's dying, and will see him soon. She tells Sam that he is "unclean in a biblical sense," and reveals her name to him before departing.

11.10 The Devil in the Details

Dean is sent to Kenesaw, Nebraska by Crowley to meet with the reaper Billie, who is to give Dean a package and access to Hell. When Dean recalls that Billie is the reaper Sam told him wanted them dead, she corrects him and tells him she is the one who will makes sure they stay dead, before sending him on his way to Hell.

11.17 Red Meat

After Sam's apparent death, Dean takes drastic measures by consuming a handful of pills in order to overdose as means of having a meeting with the reaper Billie. Dean's overdose goes as planned and once he is out of his body, Billie appears exiting a white blinding light. Knowing Dean isn't the kind to commit suicide, she asks him what he wants. When he tells her he wants Sam resurrected and is willing to trade his life for Sam's, Billie has no idea what he is talking about. Dean pleads with her that Sam is the only one that can stop the Darkness, which will destroy everyone and everything -- including Billie. Billie asks him how, but Dean has no answer. She tells Dean that even if Sam could stop the Darkness, she still wouldn't make the deal. Telling him the Winchesters are all out of second chances. She extends her hand to Dean, and tells him the Empty is waiting. As Dean stares blankly at Billie, Dr. Kessler injects a syringe of adrenaline in his heart reviving Dean, prompting a dismayed Billie to walk out of the room and into the white light from where she came.

11.23 Alpha and Omega

At Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Sam and Dean collect as many ghosts and vengeful spirits they can for their proposed soul bomb against Amara, Billie reveals herself from the shadows, watching them leave. Curious as to what they were doing at Waverly Hills, Bille follows them to the Bunker and questions them. After finding out about the soul bomb to kill the Darkness, Billie agrees to help, taking hold of the stone, Billie "raids the Veil" of a couple hundred-thousand souls before taking her leave.

12.06 Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox

When hunters begin dying at the wake of Asa Fox, Billie soon arrives to reap the souls. When Dean gets magically locked outside of the house, he makes a deal with Billie for her to get him back inside in exchange for owing her a favor.

The next morning when the dead hunters are given a funeral pyre, Billie appears before Sam, Dean and Mary. She tells the three that she knows Mary feels out of place, and that if she wants, Billie will reap her soul. When Mary declines, Billie departs, but before leaving she tells all the Winchesters that if any of them change their mind, all they have to do is call her name.

12.09 First Blood

After being locked away in solitary confinement at Site 94 for nearly two months, Dean makes a desperate play and calls on Billie. The Winchester strike a deal with her, they are temporarily killed so they can be moved to the site's morgue, where they will be resurrected on the condition that at the strike of midnight, one of the Winchesters will have to die, permanently.

When midnight arrives, Sam and Dean are confronted by Billie to pay on their deal, telling them there are cosmic consequences if they break their deal with her. Mary, in a bid to save her sons, offers herself, reasoning that a Winchester has to die, and she is a Winchester. Billie agrees to the terms, and as Mary is about to shoot herself in the head, Billie is stabbed in the back by Castiel with an angel blade, killing her.

13.05 Advanced Thanatology

After Dean briefly commits suicide to find out from the ghosts trapped in a house where their bodies are, he encounters a reaper named Jessica, and rudely rejects Jessica who soon realizes who he is and teleports to Death's Reading Room to announce that Dean Winchester is in the Veil.

After Dean finds the location of the bodies from Shawn Raider, he is greeted by Billie who reveals that she is the new Death. Billie explains that one of the rules of reality is that when one incarnation of Death is killed, the next reaper to die will take his place. While talking with Billie, Dean makes a deal to free the souls trapped in the Meadows house. Billie sends Jessica to the home where she escorts the souls to their rightful resting place.

13.19 Funeralia

14.10 Nihilism

Remembering that Billie assigned Jessica to watch over himself and Dean, Sam calls on her for help in escaping Hitomi Plaza only to be met by another reaper named Violet. Violet reveals to Sam that reapers now take shifts keeping an eye on the Winchesters due to how often they screw things up. She is invisible to everyone in the room except for Sam and Michael, who reveals that his angel army kept Death locked away and enslaved the reapers in Apocalypse World. When Sam asks for her help, Violet tells him she can't interfere, but is then stopped mid-sentence as everyone in the room is teleported to the Men of Letters Bunker. Violet says that she didn't teleport them to the Bunker before disappearing.

After trapping Michael in Dean's mind, Billie appears in Dean's room, revealing that she sent everyone to the Bunker. She also tells Dean not to tell anyone for "taking a calculated risk." Billie reveals that all the notebooks in Death's Reading Room have rewritten themselves, revealing that Dean dies when Michael escapes his mind and uses his vessel to burn down the world in all the notebooks except one. She gives Dean the only notebook where Michael loses and Dean reads its contents. When Dean asks what he's supposed to do with this new information, Billie says "That's up to you." before leaving.

Apocrypha

A reaper called Daniel appears in the spin-off novel Supernatural: Carved in Flesh, where he assists Sam and Dean in stopping an attempt to restore the Norse goddess Hel to corporeal form.

See also

References