6.11 Appointment in Samarra

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Appointment in Samarrapromo pic.jpg
Title Appointment in Samarra
Episode # Season 6, Episode 11
First aired December 10, 2010
Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Sera Gamble
Robert Singer
On IMDB Appointment in Samarra
Outline Dean goes to Death to make a deal to get Sam's soul back, but Sam has other plans.
Monster RoboSam
Timeline
Location(s) Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Synopsis

Dean goes to see an old acquaintance of his father, Dr. Robert. Dean pays the doctor and his assistant, Eva, to kill him and then bring him back to life. After the doctor claims a 75% success rate for the procedure, Dean gives him a letter addressed to Ben and asks him to mail it in case something goes wrong. Dr. Robert takes the letter and tells Dean he has 3 minutes of death before they revive him, then injects Dean with something that kills him. Dean, once his soul has left his body, says a spell that summons the reaper Tessa. He tells Tessa to contact her boss, Death, and let him know that Dean wants to talk to him. She refuses, but, to their mutual surprise, Death appears behind them and greets Dean.

Dean tries to make a deal with Death to get Sam Winchester and Adam Milligan's souls out of Lucifer's Cage. Dean tells Death that he'll return his ring to him in exchange for their souls, but Death reminds Dean that he was only supposed to be borrowing his ring in the first place, and he knows where Dean hid it anyway. He doesn't completely reject Dean's request, however; he tells Dean that he has to make a choice between Sam or Adam's soul. Dean chooses Sam, and Death tells him that he can return Sam's soul to him, even putting Sam's time in Hell behind a wall in his mind, but only if Dean wins their wager: Dean has to wear Death's ring and be Death for a day. If he takes the ring off, he loses the wager and Sam's soul stays in hell. Before Dean can learn why Death wants him to take his place for a day, Dr Robert revives him.

Dean tells Sam and Bobby about his wager with Death, but Sam is opposed to the idea. He doesn't want his soul returned to his body, especially because the "wall" Death proposes to put up in his mind isn't necessarily permanent. He tries to get to the ring before Dean, but fails, and Dean asks Bobby to watch Sam before leaving. After Dean puts on the ring, he appears somewhere else entirely and Tessa is there. She tells Dean that for the next 24 hours, he has to touch and kill everyone who's on her list so that she can reap them.

While Dean is with Tessa, Sam slips Bobby and summons Balthazar. He asks Balthazar for a way to keep his soul out of his body, and Balthazar, who wants to screw Dean over and have Sam in his debt, gives Sam the spell "for free." He also tells Sam that he has to make his body, aka vessel, uninhabitable for his soul by committing patricide. He "needs the blood of his father, but his father needn't be blood," so Sam resolves to kill Bobby. Bobby realizes what Sam is up to, however, and hits him over the head. Unfortunately, Sam vanishes before Bobby can tie him up. Bobby locks the door to the basement and then locks himself in the closet, where Sam quickly finds him. Sam breaks through the door with an ax, but Bobby has set a trap door outside the closet that drops Sam into the basement. Bobby asks Sam what he's doing through the basement door, but Sam doesn't explain. He escapes the basement and Bobby tries to track him, but Sam gets the jump on him and knocks Bobby unconscious.

Meanwhile, Dean and Tessa are busy killing and reaping souls. The first is an armed robber who is shot by a store clerk during a holdup, and the second is an overweight man who had a heart attack. Dean doesn't have a problem killing either man, but he is unable to kill the next person, a 12-year-old girl named Hilary, who has a heart condition. He refuses to let her die, telling Tessa that there's no such thing as fate or destiny. Because he doesn't touch the girl, her heart miraculously heals and the surgeon and his nurse, Jolene, go home early. This changes the course of destiny, and Jolene is injured so badly in a car accident on the way home that Dean is forced to kill her and Tessa reaps her soul "decades early." The nurse's husband, Scott, is then so distraught that he drinks and drives and almost crashes into a busload of people--the accident is averted at the last minute when Dean takes off Death's ring and jerks the wheel of Scott's car. Dean saved his and other's lives, but because he took off the ring he lost his wager with Death. Tessa tells him that it's over, but he still goes back to the hospital and kills the 12-year-old girl because he has learned his lesson: you can't mess with destiny or the "natural order" without setting off a chain reaction that has untold consequences.

Tessa takes him back to Bobby' house, where he is just in time to stop Sam from killing Bobby. They restrain him in Bobby's panic room, and Dean is distraught because he can't keep Sam locked up forever. Death then shows up at Bobby's house to get his ring back. He speaks to Dean about his failed tenure as Death, and is pleased that Dean learned his lesson about cheating death and disturbing the natural order. Even though Dean was unable to keep his ring on for a full 24 hours, Death decides to retrieve Sam's soul. He tells Dean that he needs to keep digging on the topic of souls before going to Hell and coming back with Sam's soul. The episode ends with Sam screaming as Death returns his soul to his body.

Characters

Definitions

Music

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Quotes

Death: Dean, Dean, Dean. What do you think the soul is? Some pie you can slice? The soul can be bludgeoned, tortured, but never broken. Not even by me.
Death: Don't roll your eyes, Dean. It's impolite. Now, when you fetch my ring, put it on.

Dean: What?
Death: I want you to be me for one day.
Dean: Are you serious?

Death: No, I'm being incredibly sarcastic.
Dean: I'm trying to save your life!
Sam: Exactly, Dean! It's my life! It's my life, it's my soul. And it sure as hell ain't your head that's gonna explode when this whole scheme of yours goes sideways!
Tessa: Wow. They'll just let any slack-jawed haircut be Death these days.
Dean: Well, you're all charm today, aren't you?
Robber: Why?
Dean: Mostly because you're a dick. Enjoy the ride down, pal. Trust me -- sauna gets hot.
Dean: Give me a break. I've spent my whole life fighting that crap. There's no such thing as destiny, just like there was no apocalypse -- just a bunch of stuck-up mooks who didn't want us human slaves asking questions. Well, I say the little girl lives.
Tessa: Do you know what's amazing? You don't actually buy a word you're saying.
Hilary: I-I can't just leave him. It's not fair!

Dean: I know.
Hilary: Well, then why?
Dean: Because...There's sort of a-a natural order to things.
Hilary: Natural order is stupid.

Dean: Well, I agree with you there.
Death: I think it's a little more than that. Today, you got a hard look behind the curtain. Wrecking the natural order's not quite such fun when you have to mop up the mess, is it? This is hard for you, Dean. You throw away your life because you've come to assume that it'll bounce right back into your lap. But the human soul is not a rubber ball. It's vulnerable, impermanent, but stronger than you know. And more valuable than you can imagine. So... I think you've learned something today.
Death: We're done here. It's been lovely. But now I'm going to go to hell to get your brother's soul.

Dean: Why would you do that for me?
Death: I wouldn't do it for you. You and your brother keep coming back. You're an affront to the balance of the universe, and you cause disruption on a global scale.

Dean: I apologize for that.
Death: Now, Sam, I'm gonna put up a barrier inside your mind.

Sam: No, don't touch me.

Death: It might feel a little... itchy. Do me a favor -- don't scratch the wall. Trust me -- you're not gonna like what happens.

Trivia & References

The title of the episode refers to a story by Somerset Maugham. Based on an old Middle Eastern story, which as follows:

The speaker is Death.

There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
The plot of Dean filling Death's shoes for a day is loosely similar to the basic plot of Bruce Almighty, where Jim Carrey is asked to fill in for God and given God's powers and responsibilities.
Dr. Robert is played by Robert Englund, most famously known for playing Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series.
Dr. Robert's name may be a reference to the The Beatles's song "Doctor Robert," in which a doctor gives out illicit drugs.
The scene where Dean is put into a medically induced near-death experience is similar to the plot of the movie Flatliners. Michael J. Fox also did the same thing in The Frighteners.
Tessa: I was in the Sudan! What's with yanking me ov--wait, why are you dead?
Tessa is referring to the ongoing war and genocide in Darfur. The Horseman War tells Sam he was in Darfur when he was called back to do his part to start the Apocalypse in 5.02 Good God, Y'All.
Tessa: Just so you know, when people die they might have questions for you. Well, you know, not you, but Death.

Dean: You mean like, how did Betty White outlast me?

Betty White is an American actress, animal rights activist, author, comedian, radio host, singer, and television personality born in 1922.
Heart Attack Guy: Wait. Will you tell me what it all means?

Dean: Everything is dust in the wind.
Heart Attack Guy: That's it?! A Kansas song?!

Dean is quoting the Kansas song "Dust in the Wind." This song was also used as a philosophical answer in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. The song is in turn named after the philosophical quote by Socrates, who Bill and Ted are speaking with at the time. In their second film, Bill and Ted are sent to hell, and then play Death for a chance at returning to life. The dead guy was appearantly unaware of the philosophy being referenced, hence Dean's reaction to his comments.
Bobby: Don't say, 'Here's Johnny.'
Bobby is referring to the iconic moment in the Kubrick movie The Shining, when Jack Nicholson's character chops into a door with an axe, looks through the hole he's made, and calls out "Here's Johnny!" in imitation of the opening of the talk show The Johnny Carson Show. The movie was loosely based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. Watch the scene here.

Minutiae

Dr. Robert tells Dean he has three minutes in near-death experience before he has to bring him back. When Dean is revived, we find out he was dead for seven minutes.
The ECG shows a flatline after the injection, which means defibrillation as attempted by Dr. Robert is in fact useless.
In the opening scene Dean holds an envelope addressed to Benjamin Braeden, 213 Weinbach Ave., Battlecreek, MI 49014. For information on where Ben has lived see the entry on Lisa Braeden.
Jolene, the nurse, works at Holy Innocents Hospital. Her name tag has a blue bear on it.
The little girl has a very large brown teddy bear on her bed. This may be a callback to 4.08 Wishful Thinking and the living Teddy.
Bobby was previously trapped in his closet in a dream in 3.10 Dream a Little Dream of Me and for real during 5.15 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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