5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight

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Death and Dean Winchester.jpg
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
Timeline May 2010
Location(s) Davenport, Iowa
Chicago, Illinois
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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, telling patient Celeste that his activities were quite productive. 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, Dean and Sam, 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 about to kill them when Castiel appears, claiming that he was transported by a bus. The Horseman notes 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 assistant charges at Castiel and is killed with the demon-killing knife before Pestilence warns them that it's too late and vanishes. Dean, Sam and Castiel return to Bobby's house with Pestilence's ring, where 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 an intentional virus outbreak, while Dean and Crowley plan 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 trucks. They enter the warehouse 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 warehouse, Sam saves more people, releasing them. Sam is brought to the ground and is caught off-guard by one of the infected. Castiel intervenes and shoots it in the 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, forcing Dean to drop it before it appears 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 to be freed of that bondage. 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.




(plays when Death first appears in Chicago)


Castiel: Apparently, after Van Nuys, I suddenly appeared, bloody and unconscious, on a shrimping boat off Delacroix. I'm told it upset the sailors.
Pestilence: Hmm. You boys don't look well. It might be the, uh, Scarlet fever. Or, uh, the meningitis. Oh! Or the syphilis. That's no fun. However you feel right now? It's gonna get so very, very much worse. Questions? Disease gets a bad rap, don't you think? For being filthy. Chaotic. Uh, but, really, t-that just describes people who get sick. Disease itself... very... pure... single-minded. Bacteria have one purpose -- divide and conquer. That's why, in the end... it always wins. So, you've got to wonder why God pours all his love into something so messy! And weak! It's ridiculous. All I can do is show him he's wrong, one epidemic at a time. Now... On a scale of 1 to 10, how's your pain?
Sam: Did you kiss him?

Dean: Sam!
Sam: Just wondering.
Bobby: No! (Crowley interrupts and shows a picture of the deed) Why'd you take a picture?

Crowley: Why'd you have to use tongue?
Castiel: What I used to be...

Bobby: Are you really gonna bitch to me? Quit pining for the varsity years... and load the damn truck.
Dean: All right, well... good luck stopping the whole zombie apocalypse.
Sam: Yeah. Good luck killing Death.
Dean: Yeah.

Sam: Remember when we used to just... hunt wendigos? How simple things were?
Bobby: [talking rapidly] 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. [Cas interrupts]

Castiel: That truck is leaving.

Bobby: Balls! Okay, new plan.
Bobby: Can we commit our act of domestic terrorism already? Let's go.
Death: Thanks for returning that. Join me, Dean. The pizza's delicious. Sit down. Took you long enough to find me. I've been wanting to talk to you.

Dean: I got to say --I have mixed feelings about that. S-so is this the part where... where you kill me?

Death: 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. 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. Eat. Good, isn't it?
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: Well, this is way above my pay grade.

Death: Just a bit.
Dean: What do you think Death does to people who lie to his face?
Bobby: Nothing good.
Bobby: Look, I'm not saying Sam ain't an ass-full of character defects. But...

Dean: But what?

Bobby: Back at Niveus? I watched that kid pull one civilian out after another. Must have saved 10 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, 12?
Bobby: Look, Sam's got a... darkness in him. I'm not saying he don't. But he's got a hell of a 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 could ask for. So I got to 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 which is used as a symbol to highlight the probability of a human-made global catastrophe at any given time.
The name of the convalescent home is "Serenity Valley". This might be a reference to the TV series Firefly which featured a "Battle of Serenity Valley". Mark Sheppard who plays Crowley also appeared in Firefly, and Ben Edlund who produced this episode was also a producer on Firefly.
Pestilence is working as a doctor at the Serenity Valley Convalescent Home. He tells Celeste that 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.
The patient's vomit appears similar to the pea soup that was used during the famous vomiting scene in The Exorcist and referenced by Dean at the end of 2.07 The Usual Suspects.
Dean: So this is Dr. Evil's lair, huh?
A reference to Austin Powers' arch-nemesis. His lair changes in the three Austin Powers movies.
Dean: It's like a four-color brochure for dying young. Of course, to Pestilence, it's probably Dollywood in there.
Dollywood is a theme park owned by Dolly Parton.
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.
Crowley: They don't get to be Horsemen for nothing. So, you boys better stock up on... well, everything. This time next Thursday, we'll all be living in Zombieland.
Zombieland is a horror comedy that focuses on a group of people who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies.
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.
Crowley: Bobby, you just gonna sit there?

Bobby: (sarcastically) No, I'm gonna Riverdance.

Riverdance is a theatrical show featuring traditional Irish music and dance.
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 is eating at Rinascita Pizzeria. Rinascita is the Italian word for rebirth.
Dean: Well, how'd it go at the Rockettes audition?

Bobby: Well, high kicks -- fair. Boobs need work. I walked up and down stairs all night for no damn reason. I'm sore. Feels so good, I'm scared it's a dream. But then I remember that the world's dying bloody, so, drink?

The Rockettes are a dance company who were founded in 1925 and perform out of Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York.


The working title for this episode was originally "Collect All Four".S5Com
Misha Collins Tweeted live during the episode for the CW's Watch And Tweet Week.
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.
After banishing himself and the other angels in 5.18 Point of No Return, 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, where Cas originally disappeared.
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.
Sam: Remember when we used to just hunt wendigos and how simple things were?
A reference to the simplicity of the plots in the early seasons - 1.02 Wendigo in particular.
This episode marks the first use of one of Bobby's most popular expressions: "Balls!"
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?.

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