4.16 On the Head of a Pin
|Title||On the Head of a Pin|
|Episode #||Season 4, Episode 16|
|First aired||March 19, 2009|
|Directed by||Mike Rohl|
|Written by||Ben Edlund|
|On IMDB||On the Head of a Pin|
|Outline||Something is killing angels, and Castiel and Uriel need Dean's help to find out who.|
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Castiel arrives at a parking lot where the cars have been overturned and car alarms are blaring. He silences them with a gesture and goes to the center of the chaos, where a woman in white is resting, a stab wound in her sternum. He wishes his "sister" goodbye and then disappears as the police arrive. Upon arrival, a helicopter light reveals a set of angel wings burned onto the ground.
Dean and Sam are driving through the night from Pamela's funeral and Sam tells Dean that Ruby is going to meet them after tracking some leads. Dean says he doesn't care and is feeling guilty and becoming tired of losing all of their friends. Sam tells him to get angry, not tired. They check into a motel and find Uriel and Castiel waiting for them. Dean snaps at them and Uriel is less than sympathetic. Castiel expresses his sympathy but Uriel puts him in his place. He then informs the brothers that seven angels have been killed and they don't know how the demons are doing it. They want Dean to interrogate Alastair, their captive. Dean refuses but Uriel tells him they're not asking. The angels disappear with Dean, leaving Sam behind.
Castiel shows Dean Alastair, bound within a devil's trap in an empty warehouse. Dean tries to leave but Uriel blocks him. Castiel says they have no choice but to ask and Dean asks to speak to Castiel alone. Uriel leaves and Castiel warns that his superiors are beginning to doubt him because of his sympathies toward humans. Dean warns that Castiel won't like what walks out if Dean goes in to torture Alastair. Castiel assures him he'd give everything for Dean not to have to do it.
Dean goes into the chamber alone. Alastair starts singing as Dean prepares a collection of torture instruments. Alastair laughs and wonders if Dean is scared. Dean denies it and Alastair points out Dean left part of himself back in the pit. He suggests Dean might want to get revenge -- if not for how Alastair tortured Dean, then for everything he did to John Winchester.
Ruby arrives at the motel and doesn't see the problem, but Sam warns that Dean can't get the job done. Dean's not strong enough any more, but Sam says he'll be strong enough to do it instead.
Alastair boasts of what he did to John but admits he never did break him the way he broke Dean. Dean tells him that he could still dream in Hell, and he dreamed of torturing him. He starts with a syringe filled with holy water. Outside, Castiel listens to Alastair's screams of pain.
At the motel, Ruby conducts a ritual while burning a map to locate Dean. Sam says he "needs it" and it's been weeks. Ruby tells him it'll be okay, then cuts her arm. Sam eagerly sucks the blood from her. Dean coats the demon-killing knife with holy water and Alastair asks if the torture will give him closure. Dean plunges the knife into Alastair, but the demon still boasts of how he changed Dean and there's no going back. Dean admits he's right, but now it's his turn. He's unaware that a water valve is moving by itself and water is dripping on the devil's trap.
Outside, Castiel sees the lights flicker and realizes that Anna has arrived. She's created a duplicate of her human body. Castiel warns that he still has orders to kill her, but she's confident he won't. She asks why they're letting Dean do this and questions if torturing is God's work. Castiel refuses to question the will of God, but Anna questions whether the orders are coming from God. She points out that he's feeling doubt and insists the orders are wrong. She suggests they can act together, but he insists that he's nothing like her. He tells her to go and she disappears.
Alastair still refuses to give the angel-killer's name. He explains that Lilith had a particular reason to get Dean, but Dean shuts him up by pouring salt in his mouth.
As Sam drives through the night, Alastair explains that John was supposed to bring it on but it turned out that it was Dean. He describes how the first person Dean tortured was the first seal. When he broke, it broke. Alastair points out that when they summon the Apocalypse, it'll be Dean's fault. Alastair focuses on the water pipe as it continues to drip on the seal. Dean figures that Alastair is telling the truth but warns he won't be there to see it. When he turns, Alastair is free and attacks Dean. The demon hits him repeatedly until Castiel arrives, plunging the demon-killing knife into his shoulder. Castiel twists the knife but Alastair manages to pull it out and lunges at the angel. The two fight while Dean lies unconscious on the floor.
Alastair slams Castiel back onto a hook, then admits all he can do is send Castiel back to Heaven. The demon starts to recite an incantation as Castiel glows with white light. Suddenly Alastair chokes and falls back as Sam arrives, using his powers to pin Alastair to the wall. Sam demands the name of the angel-killer and tortures him. Alastair says he doesn't know and finally admits the demons are not killing the angels and Lilith wouldn't stop at just seven angels. Alastair dares Sam to send him back but Sam tells him he can kill demons now. He focuses his powers and destroys the demon once and for all. Castiel just stares at Sam in shock.
Sam gets Dean to the hospital and sits at his bed side. Castiel meets him outside and Sam tells him to heal Dean. Castiel apologizes, saying the trap shouldn't have broken. Sam insists that Alastair wasn't lying and they need to find out who or what is killing the angels.
Uriel is in an empty park when Castiel arrives. Uriel says he's received revelation that they're to stop hunting the demons. Even Uriel realizes something is wrong in Heaven and they wonder who could be responsible. Castiel wonders if God is punishing them, or if God isn't giving the orders any more. Uriel disappears, saying he won't wait to be gutted.
That night, Castiel calls out to Anna and she comes. He admits he's considering disobedience but she warns that it gets worse as he exerts his independence. He flinches when she touches him, but Castiel begs her to tell him what to do. Anna refuses, telling him it's time to think for himself. He looks at a nearby drinking fountain and sees a water valve.
Castiel returns to the warehouse and examines the water valve that broke the devil's trap. Uriel arrives and ask if Castiel will fight with him. Castiel insists that no demon could have broken his trap. He talks of their time together and asks Uriel for truth. Uriel tells him that only an angel can kill an angel, and extends a blade from his sleeve. He explains that the plan was that Alastair was to have killed Dean and escaped. Uriel's plan is conversion, and he's angry that God created humans. He wants Castiel to join them so that they can raise their brother Lucifer, who never bowed to humanity. Uriel asks Castiel to spread the word and bring on the Apocalypse. Uriel tells him not to be afraid and Castiel says he isn't… then slams Uriel through a wall. The two fight but Uriel quickly gets the upper hand, insisting there is no God. Anna comes up from behind and kills him with his own blade. As he explodes in a burst of white light, it wrecks the room as Castiel and Anna stand over Uriel's body, his wings burned onto the ground.
Dean wakes up at the hospital to find Castiel at his side. Castiel tells him to be careful, then informs him that Uriel was a traitor. Dean asks if Alastair spoke the truth and Castiel confirms that Dean broke the first seal. They laid siege to Hell to stop him but were too late. Castiel explains that the righteous man who begins it is the only one who can finish it. Dean has no idea what it means and Castiel admits that he doesn't know either. Dean says that he can't do it, he's not strong enough. He tells Castiel to find someone else.
- "Cheek to Cheek" by Irving Berlin
- (sung by Alastair before Dean starts torturing him)
Dean: Everybody's dying these days. And hey, I get it. You're all-powerful. You can make me do whatever you want. But you can't make me do this.
Castiel: Uriel's the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone.
Dean: Just give me the demon's name, Alastair.
[As Castiel narrowly misses his heart with Ruby's knife]
Castiel: No. No demon can overpower that trap. I made it myself. We've been friends for a long time, Uriel. Fought by each other's sides, served together away from home, for what seems like forever. We're brothers, Uriel. Pay me that respect. Tell me the truth.Uriel: The truth is, the only thing that can kill an angel... is another angel.
Uriel: God isn't God anymore. He doesn't care what we do. I am proof of that.
[Anna stabs Uriel from behind]
Dean: Lucifer? The Apocalypse? What does that mean? Hey! Don't you go disappearing on me, you son of a bitch. What does that mean!
Castiel: I don't know.
Castiel: I don't. Dean, they don't tell me much. I know our fate rests with you.
Trivia & References
- "Nein" is German for "no".
- In the '70s series Kung Fu, David Carradine starred as Caine, a Shaolin priest with cool martial arts skills who traveled the American Old West searching for his half-brother. His mentor Master Po, referred to him as "Grasshopper."
- This is a reference to the popular board game Monopoly.
- This is a quote by Billy Murray's character from the movie Little Shop of Horrors. Murray's character plays a happy masochist who visits a dentist who delights in inflicting pain on his patients.
- Reference to the bit on the Late Show with David Letterman where people brought pets on the show to do tricks.
- I call upon all of the mighty power of God,
- I call upon all of the mighty power of God,
- remove from this earth,
- the angels in the service of the following,
- Lord eject,
- Lord eject,
- through God depart from whence....
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts
- 4.16 On The Head Of A Pin: There’s No Going Back by bardicvoice (March 2009); archive link, spn-heavymeta
- Bond, Silvia. 2009. Get Your Own Pair of Wings, Damnit!: "On the Head of a Pin" Season 4, Episode 16. Pink Raygun, March 24; archive link, spn-heavymeta
- Chan, Suzette. 2009. Supernatural Talk: Tarts talk about On the Head of a Pin. Sequential Tart, May 4; archive link
- The geometry of good: a look at SPN 4x16 by hugemind (March 2009); archive link, spnematography