5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight

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Title Two Minutes to Midnight
Episode # Season 5, Episode 21
First aired May 6, 2010
Directed by Phil Sgriccia
Written by Sera Gamble
On IMDB Two Minutes to Midnight
Outline The Winchesters and Bobby are reunited with Castiel, and get close to collecting the rings from the Four Horsemen.
Monster Pestilence
Death
Timeline May 2010
Location(s) Davenport, Iowa
Chicago, Illinois
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Synopsis

Inside interior of Bobby's house. Dean finds out about Sam's proposal to give Lucifer permission to use him as a vessel. In the midst of their disputes, Dean receives a phone call from Castiel, temporarily pausing the discussion. In their conversation, Castiel reveals that following his actions in California, he has become effectively mortal. He apologizes for doubting Dean in assuming that he was going to assent to Michael.

Dean and Sam travel to Serenity Valley Convalescent Home in Davenport, Iowa in search of Pestilence. Dr. Green returns to Serenity Valley, claiming that his activities were quite productive to Celeste. She asks him if he'll cure her and Dr. Green openly admits that he's not going to cure her condition; instead, he inflicts multiple diseases on her and she dies, coughing up green slime. Dean and Sam continue traveling through the facility searching for Pestilence, and as they pass a room, a demonic nurse senses their presence and reports to Pestilence. In their discussion, Pestilence activates his ring, inflicting pain and sickness on doctors, nurses and patients. As they get closer to the Horseman, they too become sick and their sickness greatly escalates as they get closer to Pestilence. Once they reach him, they both faint and are dragged in by the the demon assistant. They quickly awaken and Pestilence converses with them. He is then about to kill them when Castiel appears, claiming that he was transported here by a bus. The Horseman verbally acknowledges that Castiel isn't a full angel anymore. In desperation to defeat the Horseman, Castiel cuts off Pestilence's ring-finger, separating him from his ring, effectively disabling his essential capabilities. The demon charges at Castiel and is killed with Ruby's knife. Pestilence warns them that it's too late and vanishes. Dean, Sam and Castiel return to Bobby's house with Pestilence's ring. Bobby reveals that Chicago is going to be blown off the map by Death. They question where he got that information, forcing Crowley to appear and at his request, Bobby reveals that he sold his soul for Death's location. Dean and Sam are furious at Bobby, but Bobby and Crowley turn them back to the matter at hand, the swine flu.

In Chicago, Illinois, Death exits his automobile and ambulates on the sidewalk, killing a man who rudely brushed past him. Back at Singer Salvage Yard, Sam, Castiel and Bobby depart from Dean, going to stop a virus outbreak, while Dean and Crowley are going to locate Death to stop him from destroying a whole state.

In the van, Castiel contemplates Sam's plan to assent to Lucifer and jump in Lucifer's Cage while hosting him. Castiel reveals that Lucifer's older brother, Michael, has found and is using another vessel - Adam Milligan - Dean and Sam's half-brother. Castiel also reveals that if Sam assents to Lucifer and fails, that the fight between the Two Archangels with occur and will have destructive collateral effects. Castiel also informs Sam that in order for him to successfully contain Lucifer, he would need to consume a very large amount of Demon blood, as it strengthens the vessel. At the distribution center, they notice that demons are loading the "vaccine" into the market. They enter the market and dispatch many Croatoan-infected people. In the search for the last Horseman, Dean and Crowley travel to a location where Crowley believes Death is present, as he sees many Reapers surrounding the vicinity. But Crowley bashfully admits that he was mistaken in his assumption. In Chicago, Crowley finally locates Death and Dean goes in to meet him. Back at the market, Sam saves more people, releasing them. Sam is brought to the ground and is caught off-guard by a zombie. Castiel intervenes and shoots its head, killing it. At the pizzeria, Dean approaches Death with Death's scythe, but as he gets closer to the Horseman, the handle burns hot and reappears in Death's possession. Death requests that Dean join him at his table. Death mentions that he is very old and and also states that in comparison to him, the universe and Earth are barely out of their diapers. Death reveals that he is as old or older than God, as neither of them can remember anymore. He also claims that in the end, God himself will die and he will reap him. Death tells Dean that he became "bound" to Lucifer following his rising, and he wants freed of that. Death says that he will go as far as loaning Dean his ring so that he can trap Lucifer in his Cage even if Sam is hosting him at the time. Dean reluctantly agrees to this and Death gives him his ring.

Back at Bobby's house, Dean tests the rings, activating them, forcing them to conjoin and form the Key to Lucifer's Cage. In a conversation, Bobby asks Dean if he's more afraid of losing the war or losing his brother.

Characters

Definitions

Music

(plays when Death first appears in Chicago)

Quotes

Celeste: Are you going to cure me?
Pestilence: No. You're going to die. In 4... 3... 2... [Celeste vomits on him a la Linda Blair in The Exorcist and dies] Interesting.
Castiel: I can't "zap" anywhere.

Dean: What do you mean?
Castiel: You could say my batteries are -- are drained.
Dean: What do you mean? You're out of angel mojo?
Castiel: I'm saying that I am thirsty and my head aches. I have a bug bite that itches no matter how much I scratch it, and I'm saying that I'm just incredibly...

Dean: Human. Wow. Sorry.
Castiel: You said "no" to Michael. I owe you an apology.

Dean: Cas...I-it's okay.
Castiel: You are not the burnt and broken shell of a man that I believed you to be.

Dean: (beat) Thank you. I appreciate that.
Sam: Hey... what are we even looking for?

Dean: Well, he's Pestilence so he probably looks sick.

Sam: Everybody looks sick.
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.
Sam: Did you kiss him?

Dean: Sam!
Sam: Just wondering.
Bobby: [awkward silence] No!
Crowley: [coughs, shows photo of him and Bobby kissing on his iPhone]
Bobby: Why'd you take a picture?

Crowley: Why'd you have to use tongue?
Dean: Bobby sold his soul for this!

Crowley: Relax. All deals are soul back or store credit. We'll catch Death in the next doomed city.
Dean: Millions, Crowley! Millions of people are about to die any minute!

Crowley: True. So I strongly suggest we get out of here.
Dean: So what, call in a bomb threat, a thousand bomb threats? I mean, how the hell am I supposed to get three million people out of Chicago in the next ten minutes?
Bobby: Can we commit our act of domestic terrorism already? Let's go!
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: Well I gotta ask: How old are you?

Death: As old as God. Maybe older. Neither of us can remember anymore. Life, death, chicken, egg – regardless, at the end, I’ll reap Him too.
Dean: God? You’ll reap God?
Death: Oh yes. God will die too, Dean.
Dean: This is way above my pay grade.

Death: Just a bit.
Death: Lucifer has me bound to him, some unseemly little spell. He has me where he wants, when he wants. That's why I couldn't go to you, I had to wait for you to catch up. He made me his weapon. Hurricanes, floods, raising the dead. I'm more powerful than you can process, and I'm enslaved to a bratty child having a tantrum.
Dean: What about Chicago?
Death: I suppose it can stay. I like the pizza.
Bobby: Back at Niveus, I watched that kid pull one civilian out after another, he must've saved ten people. Never stopped, never slowed down. We're hard on him, Dean. We've always been. But, in the meantime, he's been running into burning buildings since he was - what? Twelve?

Dean: Pretty much...
Bobby: Look, Sam's got a... darkness in him, I'm not saying he don't. But he's got a helluva lot of good in him too.
Dean: I know.

Bobby: Then you know Sam will beat the Devil or die trying. That's the best we can ask for. So, I gotta ask Dean - What exactly are you afraid of? Losing? Or losing your brother?

Trivia & References

The episode gets its title from the Iron Maiden song "Two Minutes to Midnight." The song's title and subject refer to the Doomsday Clock.
The storm in Chicago when Death arrives may actually play off of Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks":

"If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break, when the levee breaks I'll have no place to stay." "If you're goin' down South, they got no work to do, if you don't know about Chicago."

Death's ring is the final ring the brothers needed to open up Lucifer's cage. Without it Sam couldn't have opened Lucifer's cage at the Stull Cemetery in Lawrence 5.22 Swan Song, so without Death's ring in Chicago, the brothers would never have been able to do their "work" (opening Lucifer's cage) in Lawrence (Lawrence being south of Chicago).
The first scene where we see Death and he bumps into the pedestrian playing with his Blackberry is a literal representation of the phrase "a brush with death," which refers to a near-death experience, not actually dying.
Dean: So this is Dr. Evil's lair, huh?
A reference to Austin Powers's arch-nemesis. His lair changes in the three Austin Powers movies.
Dean: Hey, hi. I'm looking for my nana. Her name is Eunice Kennedy.
A reference to Eunice Kennedy Shriver. In addition to founding the Special Olympics, she was a member of the famous Kennedy family, sister of John, Bobby, and Ted Kennedy, and mother of Maria Shriver.
The patient's vomit appears similar to the pea soup that was used during the famous vomiting scene in The Exorcist.
Pestilence: Disease gets a bad wrap, don't you think? For being filthy, chaotic, but really that just describes people who get sick. Disease itself is very pure. Single-minded. Bacteria have one purpose: divide and conquer. That's why in the end, it always wins.
This line is somewhat similar in tone to comments by Agent Smith in The Matrix.
Sam: Remember when we used to just hunt wendigos and how simple things were?
A reference to 1.02 Wendigo.
Crowley: Up ahead. Big ugly building. Ground zero. Horseman's stable if you will. He's in there.

Dean: How do you know?
Crowley: Have you met me? Because I know. Also, the block is swarming with reapers.

The "Ground Zero" and "Horseman's stable" comments could be a reference to the famous (albeit false) story that a cow kicking over a lantern in a barn started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In 5.10 Abandon All Hope..., Castiel said reapers "only gather like this at times of great catastrophe. The Chicago Fire, the San Francisco Quake, Pompeii."
Death: You know you can't cheat death.
Somewhat of an ironic statement considering the many times Dean has cheated death. See Dead...or are they?.
When Crowley tells the boys to stock up because they will be living in "zombieland" this is most likely a reference to the 2009 movie Zombieland. This horror comedy focuses on a group of people who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies.
When Castiel tells Dean on the phone that he woke up on a fishing boat outside of Delacroix, this is a reference to the line in the Bob Dylan song "Tangled Up in Blue" that says "working for awhile on a fishing boat right outside of Delacroix."
Serenity Valley Convalescent Home may be a reference to the "Battle of Serenity Valley" from the TV series Firefly as well as its feature film Serenity.

Minutiae

Death drives a white Cadillac with California license plate BUH*BYE (Meaning is self-explanatory. Not seen in the episode but seen in the promo). "Buh bye" was also the signature catchphrase from a Saturday Night Live skit starring David Spade and Helen Hunt. See Death's Cadillac for more information.
Pestilence uses the alias "Dr. Green" when he's at the retirement home. This is probably a reference to the color of his ring and car.
Death is eating at Rinascita Pizzeria. Rinascita is the Italian word for rebirth.
After banishing himself and the other angels, Castiel was found on a shrimping boat off Delacroix Island Louisiana. This area is known for its shrimp and is 1,796 miles away from Van Nuys California were Cas originally disappeared.
In a CW event, Misha Collins tweeted during the episode, in his Twitter persona. He kept referring to Pestilence as Max Headroom, a character played by actor Matt Frewer who played Pestilence, in a 1980s TV show. A clip of Max Headroom.

Misha's tweets: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Pestilence is working as a doctor at the Serenity Valley Convalescent Home. He tells Celeste (the old lady at the beginning of the episode) she has a combination of the common cold, dengue fever, and a "nasty, nasty case of Japanese encephalitis." He then proceeds to give her chicken pox. After unleashing an epidemic by turning the ring on his finger, Pestilence tells Sam and Dean they have scarlet fever, meningitis and syphilis.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion