Reaper

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Abandonallhopereapers.jpg
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 swords, and the First Blade.
Can be bound by spells and Enochian symbols.
Appearance Incorporeal; can alter how humans perceive them, and 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

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 becoming 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

  • Have access to Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and the Veil.
  • Invisible to humans unless the person is near death or in spirit/astral projection form. May also become visible at their own discretion to mortals.[10][11][12]
  • Able to stop time.[10]
  • Teleportation[12]
  • Are experts at tracking down souls.[13]
  • Capable of altering human perception to make themselves appear any way they want.[11]
  • Possession[14][15]
  • Telekinesis[15]
  • Resurrection[11][15]

Vulnerabilities

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.

Sue-Ann Le Grange's black altar.
A reaper as it appears in 1.12 Faith.

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 sword 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 sword for information and after Maurice tells him all he knows, Dean stabs him through the neck with the sword, 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 sword. 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 sword, and then proceeds to disarm Dean of his own angel sword and flings him and Sam across the room. However, while she is distracted with Sam, Dean kills her with the angel sword 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.

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.

Trivia

See also

References