Season 4 Episode 15

Death Takes a Holiday

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 12, 2009 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
743 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sam and Dean seek help from Pamela, who sends the brothers to the spiritual realm. They discover Alastair attempting to break the seal causing mayhem in the mortal world by stopping death from occurring in a small town.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Dead Winchesters walking

    This was a very neat episode. We get all kinds of tidbits here. The return of Tessa, the Reaper beauty from season 2's ‘IMTOD’; another great appearance - and sadly, death - of recurring fave, Pamela; the return of presumed-dead Alastair; and more Winchester rivalry peppered throughout.

    The biggest thing that got to me, of all things, was the Reaper deal. So the demons are out to kill Reapers, which is one of the seals to break. But completing the task was a wild adventure indeed. See, the bros had to become ghosts - very literally - in order to stop this next attack on a seal. Along the way they encounter another ghost, the one of a young boy named Cole who was hanging in the veil, not wanting to leave his grief-stricken mother. But with a little guidance and encouragement from Dean, Cole was released from this “prisonâ€� in order to pass safely on to the other side. It helped that Tessa was on board to lend a hand, too. But not before Cole helped the bros with some pretty nifty ghostly fighting maneuvers and tricks, something that will undoubtedly help in their hunting in the future, making them more aware of how to protect themselves and fight against the enemy by knowing a bit more of how this sort of thing works in a supernatural perspective.

    The boys’ passing into the other side was reminiscent of last year’s ‘DALDOM’, but instead of walking in dreams, this was a little more riskier and definitely more controlled as they roamed freely about in the world but just through the veil, hence the risk. Then there’s Pamela, who sent the boys into the veil to begin with but could’ve pulled them out at any time. And for the record, I am sorry to see the death of her character. I loved Pamela. I really wish we could’ve gotten more with her, she had such great chemistry and humor with Sam and Dean. Still, it made for an exciting climax to the ep.

    As I said above, thanks to our little friend Cole for teaching the boys some wild ghost moves for fighting, moving things by sheer concentration, and even teleporting. But they also get a taste of the not-so-pleasantries, too. Such as being repelled by iron and rock salt. Always loopholes, huh? But, like I also said, it should give them more perspective on how they deal with future enemies of the dearly departed variety.

    So Alastair didn’t perish after all, huh? Dude’s back and nastier than before. Plus he’s got a yen to kill Reapers - 2 to be precise - as this is the breaking of one of the seals. And, of course, Tessa is in town so naturally she’s an unwilling contender/victim. But something interesting happens with Alastair in this episode: he has depleted in his immunity to Sam’s powers. Actually, Sam has grown more powerful on his own, so it makes sense that Alastair starts to waver at least a little under Sam’s weight. But he’s not entirely beaten yet. Sam has obviously still got a ways to go before he can do any real major damage to Alastair. Speaking of Sam’s powers, Pamela’s dire warning to him at ep’s end was really freaky and ominous. Even she can feel that Sam is headed towards darkness with his growing powers, so things are definitely starting to get goosebumply regarding him.

    I gotta give Dean a major kudos this time around. He has really turned some corners this season, and this ep showcases a lot of this about him. The most being the whole miracles thing. While he and Sam were discussing possible causes of their case at the beginning, he seemed really quick to jump on the whole ‘miracles happen’ train. I mean, Dean is the one who started out the series as the skeptic, and because of his experiences with angels this season - as well as everything that lead up to that point - his faith has done a total 180. In a way, I believe this has helped him understand Tessa’s job. She stated that people lie to themselves whenever they deal with death, but that is because people are scared of what’s on the other side. He encouraged Cole to go with Tessa, and even stated that he wanted to go with her way back when he first met her. Any other time he probably would’ve done all he could to stop her. But he realizes that staying behind would be worse than watching living loved ones in pain. And then, Tessa had to lessen it by telling him that there were no such things as miracles. It’s possible he already knew this deep down, but from his perspective, he more than likely used it as a device to ease Cole’s and even Pamela’s fears of passing on. And perhaps even his own for future reference.

    Dean’s interactions with Alastair were interesting, too. It’s clear there is some very unfinished business here, which will make for some really intriguing viewing later on. Makes me wonder what Alastair’s plans for Dean are, other than the obvious. Because we now have a powerful demon and a pair of angels all jockeying for Dean’s soul - or just Dean, period, whatever. Either way, this is important as it was made blatantly clear that Dean is destined for something special also, much as Sam was always slated to be something special. And speaking of little bro, no surprise that Dean still harbors some resentment over the events of the last ep when they fought while under the siren’s spell. Sam seems to want to get past it (no surprise there, either) but Dean obviously still bears a grudge. It seems Dean feels his importance to the job is, well, not, even when everything he goes through tells him different. And I believe his feelings of self-inadequacy stem from his inferiority to Sam. Let’s face it, Sam is his whole world right now, but he’s far from inferior to him. If anything, being helped out of the pit by an angel should at least warrant a one-up over Sam’s powers at this point. And even Tessa, being a mere Reaper, told Dean that she knows that great things are in store for him. As well as Castiel, who surprisingly shows up at the end to capture Alastair, makes a point to Dean about how Dean always does the opposite of what Cas asks of him, hence the deceptive skills of Cas to imitate the earlier call from Bobby in order to “enlist� the brothers’ help in stopping the breaking of the seal, claiming it a victory. Further showing Dean’s importance after all.

    Bits and Pieces:

    - The new actor playing Alastair was an extremely wise choice. Very creepy flavor added to the character.

    - Dean’s reaction in the cemetery scene where he and Sam were working the mojo to having no answer for once to what they were up to was hilarious and delivered just right from Jensen Ackles.

    - The way the bros’ - in ghost form - saw those demonic signs on the side of that building was a cool new twist to the mythology of the show: only being able to see them while walking in the veil.

    - R.I.P. Kim Manners. Very tragic, my heart goes out to his family, friends and the rest of the cast and crew of “Supernatural� who had the utmost privilege of working with such a talented man.

    I’m rating this ep a perfect 10. Next ep looks like Dean has a showdown with Alastair. That has definitely gotta rock. Until next time....moreless
  • Something about it was... simply amazing!

    Firstly... YAY PAMELA! I loved her from the first moment she was introduced to the show, how she played with the boys on their level! Then, her blind really made me feel for her! I will definitely miss her! But... she did help the boys out, again! But them as ghosts was something I couldn't have ever predicted! (Dean's arm going through Sam's body... that was priceless!) And seeing Tessa again... admittedly, I never really did like her, and the sexual tension between her and Dean was a little annoying (even though there wasn't that much). But it was still nice to see her again and get Dean's memory back.

    Anywho, over all... I LOVED this episode. Definitely goes on my top favourites!moreless
  • Sam drifts further out to sea...

    Sam's character is really changing. He doesn't have any trepidation about using his power, and seems to be feeling superior to Dean. He practically started ordering him around at the beginning of the ep - I don't think I've ever seen him do that before. He seems to have given up whatever misgivings and scruples he had about using his powers. Now he's quite pleased with himself about what he can do. I guess we saw that attitude brought out with the siren's spell - we all know there were lots of grains of truth to the things he said while under the influence. The episode was good, although I would not put this up there in the top ten episodes.moreless
  • Let's face it, the central premise of this one is just damn cool.

    A return to the season-spanning narrative after several stand alone hours, 'Death Takes A Holiday' benefits greatly from a highly sophisticated script by Jeremy Carver that manages to sustain a prominent level of unpredictability while also advancing several character arcs and tugging at the heartstrings in more ways than one. Pamela's death is certainly unexpected but it's an absolute corker: the scene is shockingly gruesome and, better still, pays off as more than simply the casual slaying of a dangling plot thread by tying the whole thing into the advancement of Sam's (presumed) descent to the dark side. On the flip side of this sudden departure is the prolonged death of the 'limbo child', which becomes more morbid as the episode progresses. Kudos to casting for an inspired choice here - the kid does a highly commendable job of invoking our sympathies while remaining believably flawed, never traversing into the mawkish. And on top of all this, let's face it, the central premise is just damn cool. Another corker to add to a season chock-a-block full of them. Scary, gripping, moving and fecking epic. They don't come much better than this.moreless
  • Good episode

    Sam and Dean seek help from Pamela, who sends the brothers to the spiritual realm. They discover Alastair attempting to break the seal causing mayhem in the mortal world by stopping death from occurring in a small town. Tis episode had its moments it was good seeing Sam and Dean as ghosts but I dont totally understand what happened there. There was a great scene where Sam and Dean learn how to use there ghost powers. There was lots of action but not enough fun. Castiel was awesome, glad to see him again been so long. It gets a 9 out of 10.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • When Pamela starts bleeding, we see blood covering her hand. However, in all the shots following, she is covering her wound with her hand but there's no blood on it.

    • Even though they're in spirit form, Sam and Dean's condensed breath can be seen when they're speaking in the cold outdoor scenes.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Pamela: Tell me something, geniuses. Even if you do break into the Veil and you find the Reaper. how are you going to save it?
      Dean: With style and class.

    • Tessa: You don't remember me?
      Dean: Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a girl say that…

    • Dean: How the hell are we supposed to fight that?
      Sam: I don't know. Learn some ghost moves?
      Dean: By tonight? Yeah, sure. I'll meet you back at Mr. Miyagi's.
      Cole: Who's Mr. Miyagi?

    • Sam: Go to Hell.
      Alastair: Oh, if only I could. But they just keep sending me up to this Arctic craphole.

    • Dean: What the hell?
      Castiel: Guess again.

    • Pamela: I can't even begin to tell you how crazy you two are.
      Sam: Well, Pamela, you are a sight for sore eyes.
      Pamela: Ah, that's sweet Grumpy. What do you say to deaf people?

    • Dean: Well, how come he couldn't fling you? He chucked you pretty good last time.
      Sam: Got no idea.
      Dean: Sam, do me a favor. If you're gonnna keep your little secrets, I can't really stop you, but just don't treat me like I'm an idiot, okay?
      Sam: What? Dean, I'm not keeping secrets.
      Dean: Mm-hmm. Whatever.

    • Alastair: You're stronger, Sam. You've been soloflexing with your little slut.
      Sam: You have no idea.

    • Dean: (as a ghost, sticking his hand in Sam) Am I making you uncomfortable?
      Sam: Get out of me.
      Dean: You're such a prude. Come on.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The episode ended with an in memoriam to long-time director and executive producer Kim Manners, who died January 25, 2009.

    • Christopher Heyerdahl takes on the role of Alastair, previously played by Mark Rolston.

    • International Airdates:
      Denmark: April 19, 2009 on TV3
      UK: April 26, 2009 on ITV2
      Australia: June 15, 2009 on Channel TEN
      Norway: July 2, 2009 on FEM
      Portugal: August 3, 2009 on AXN
      Sweden: September 20, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Spain: December 7, 2009 on AXN
      Germany: January 18, 2010 on Sky Cinema Hits
      Poland: May 21, 2010 on TVN7
      New Zealand: May 26, 2010 on TV2
      Czech Republic: August 20, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Finland: July 19, 2011 on Sub
      Slovakia: April 2, 2013 on Markiza

  • ALLUSIONS (12)

    • Pamela: I'm sick of being hauled back into your angel/demon, Soc/Greaser crap.
      This is a reference to S.E. Hinton's 1967 novel The Outsiders. The book's plot centers on two rival groups of teenagers, the Socials (Socs) and the Greasers, who come from opposite sides of town and opposite socioeconomic groups.

    • Title:
      References the 1934 movie Death Takes a Holiday, starring Fredric March as Death, who decides to disguise himself as a prince and live as a mortal.

    • Dean: Last I checked, Huggy Bear isn't available.
      Referencing the supporting character Huggy Bear Brown (Antonio Fargas) from the TV series Starsky and Hutch. Huggy was the cops' jive-talking but ever-loyal underworld contact.

    • Pamela: Of course, Chachi.
      Referencing the short-lived 1982-83 TV series Joanie Loves Chachi. Scott Baio plays Chachi Arcola, the Fonz's cousin, who moves with his girlfriend Joanie Cunningham to Chicago and starts a band.

    • Dean: I'm so feeling up Demi Moore.
      Referencing the 1990 movie Ghost, starring Moore and Patrick Swayze. Swayze as a ghost tries to touch Moore's character repeatedly.

    • Cole: Yeah. Thanks, Haley Joel, I know I'm dead.
      Referencing Haley Joel Osment, who played a child in the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense. He discovers he has the ability to see ghosts, including ghosts that aren't aware that they're dead.

    • Dean: All right, Yoda, let's see what you've got.
      Referencing the diminutive Jedi Knight voiced by Frank Oz in the Star Wars movies, starting with The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Yoda is "strong in the Force," allowing him to move objects with his mind among other things.

    • Dean: Dude, you are so Amityville.
      Referencing the 1977 novel, turned into the first of a series of movies in 1979. The book chronicles the haunting of a house in Amityville, New York, and the family that is terrorized by the ghost.

    • Sam: Dude, I'm not gonna do Fight Club with a 12-year-old.
      Referencing the 1996 novel and subsequent 1999 movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Norton is the narrator, who ends up starting a "fight club" with Tyler Durden (Pitt), and the club eventually turns into a anti-materialistic terrorist group.

    • Dean: This looks like New Jack City.
      Referencing the 1991 crime thriller starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, and Judd Nelson. The movie deals with an undercover cop going after a drug dealer who has converted an apartment complex into a crack house.

    • Dean: No thanks, House.
      Referring to the main character of the television drama House. Dr. Gregory House is a medical genius who heads a team of diagnosticians. He is portrayed by Hugh Laurie.

    • Dean: By tonight? Yeah, sure, I'll meet you back at Mr. Miyagi's.
      Referring to the 1984 movie The Karate Kid. The Karate Kid is a 1984 film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. It is a martial arts film and an underdog story in the mold of a previous Avildsen success, the 1976 boxing film Rocky.