Season 4 Episode 10

Heaven and Hell

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Nov 20, 2008 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
947 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Dean and Sam figure out why Castiel and Uriel want Anna dead. Alastair and his minions try to track down Sam, Dean and Anna.

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  • The second part of the mid-season finale. An outstanding episode hampered by a slightly lackluster direction and one unfortunate choice.

    With Kim Mannes behind the camera, this episode could have been great, a sure, solid ten out of ten. But J. Miller Tobin, who proved himself quite capable with a introverted, melancholic episode like 'A Very Supernatural Christmas', isn't quite able to seize the epic momentum the brilliant script from Eric Kripke offered him. His direction falls pretty flat and I would have really preferred to see Robert Singer or Phil Sgriccia direction this action-packed episode full of unexpected twists and thrills. The other thing I didn't like, and it's best to get it out of my system right away, so that I can concentrate on the good stuff, was the 'Titanic Hand' scene. I have nothing against the scene per se - Dean and Anna are so similar that I found only natural that they were attracted to each other - nor against Titanic, but nonetheless the hand scene felt to me completely tacky. Why a show like 'Supernatural' should make a nod to 'Titanic'? I don't know: it felt me out of place and even misconceived. It's fine, more than fine actually: brilliant, when the show borrows some imaginary from horror or sci-fi movies, but the nod toward 'Titanic' disrupted my feeling of immersion, making me awkwardly aware that they were trying hard to imitate that scene, which I even found cheesy in the original.

    Aside from this note, the episode is really great: the discovery of Anna's nature is powerful and emotional and the dialogue between her and Dean is one of the most clever piece of writing I've ever enjoyed. Eric Kripke has a real gift to discuss even the most somber, serious subjects in an offbeat, corporeal and almost tangible way that makes these matters all the more fascinating - and Anna's description of her angel status and her longing for humanity was both heart-throbbing and painfully realistic. Moreover, the epic resolution of the episode was beyond brilliant and 'Godzilla and Mothra' is a quotation that I really dug, since I felt that it was more coherent with the spirit of 'Supernatural', more down-earthed and sarcastically delivered. But then, it was the last five minutes that stand out: Jensen Ackles delivered perhaps his best performance ever and his final confession of what he did in Hell was both impressive and overwhelmingly intense, visceral and overwrought, warmhearted and mentally agonizing. It was the moment where, forgotten the talks about demons and angels, the show returned to its most sincere root: humanity. Struggling, suffering, loving humanity.moreless
  • This is an absolute beast of an episode, and with a title like 'Heaven and Hell', would you expect anything less?

    This is an absolute beast of an episode, and with a title like 'Heaven and Hell', would you expect anything less? Kripke's script thrusts our protagonists squarely in the middle of an epic tug of war between the forces of 'good' and 'evil' and cleverly predicates the whole thing not on the survival of the character they're both jostling over, but on which faction gets to slaughter her first. It's this kind of complex blurring of binaries, the deliberate rejection of categorical oppositions, that sets the Supernatural we now know and love apart from the one The WB gave birth to four short years ago. There is no black and white here: Allister and his cohorts may be 'evil', but Ruby, one of his kind, helps our heroes as much as she can and hell, Sam has demon blood pumping through his veins. Castiel and Uriel, angelic as they may proport to be, are firmly on the side of murdering poor Anna, all because she rejected the cold, emotionless, obedient existence of the angels and fell to Earth to experience that beautiful thing called life. They would rather kill her than have her return to Heaven - and that may be because their master ordains it, but then, what does that say about the forces of 'good', about God himself? Sam and Dean are caught amongst all of this, forced to make the tough decisions and call for themselevs exactly what is right and wrong and it is this conflict that enriches every scene, every line, of this episode. It's an impossibly overwhelming situation and one that forces the viewer to ask themselves questions about faith, morality and all of that other good, juicy stuff. And it certainly helps that the action sequences are massive, Julie McNiven is an absolute star and, magnificently, Jensen Ackles has us all shedding tears at episode's end. What would've turned into a corny schmaltzfest in the hands of a lesser actor is a harrowingly poignant tour de force thanks to his general, all round genius. God damn terrific. Again.moreless
  • One week its Sam, the next its Dean! Explain...?

    Its episodes like this that make me watch the show! Angels and demons - this is the episode we have been waiting for and it didnt disappoint. What the hell (no pun intended) is Alistair made of? I mean neither Sam or Cstiel can draw him out of the human he inhabits and I wanna know why :) I just love this episode - Anna's re-gracing scene was exciting as was her very own therapy session. I liked the return of Pamela, sassy and witty as ever. But the scene that clinched it for me and as a guy found it very sad the way Dean talked about his 40 years in Hell!moreless
  • Great dramatic build-up - disappointing result.

    Why are good characters so much harder to write than evil characters? That is, if they are either truly good or truly evil: by this point in Season 4, Kripke has so befuddled the absolutes of black and white, not to mention shifted the color grey into shades somewhere beyond chartreuse and magenta, that viewers are in a constant state of confusion about whether the angels are devils or the demons have hearts of gold. It has been a wild ride, and sitting back to savor the angst develop has been fun, much more fun than trying to pick apart every clue and come up with a new theory about the possible outcome every week- I gave up on that long ago. The unfolding story of the coming apocalypse has been fascinating, but this week - the last show before an eight week hiatus - was quite a disappointment.

    These two episodes - "I Know What you Did Last Summer" and "Heaven and Hell," - were obviously meant to be two pieces to the puzzle, or two sides of the coin if you prefer. Ruby's story v. Anna's story. Sam's pain v. Dean's pain. How the demon is good v. how the angel is bad. Unfortunately, the soda machine won't be accepting this coin because one side far outweighs the other.

    No matter how you feel about the new actress who plays Ruby, no matter which brother is your all-time-favorite, you must admit that the plot, characterizations, pacing, writing, and feel of the first episode was far better than the second. Both episodes suffered from frame story-itis, that is, there were long moments where one person was relating back-story to the other characters and the viewers. Difficult to pull off in the best of times. Sam's back-story about the events of the summer from his perspective? Brilliant. Why? Because the writers allowed us to actually see what happened to Sam, to feel the breakdown in his spirit, and to groan at his desperate descent into solace in the arms of a demon. We know him and we've traveled with him along this dark road every step. We know Ruby, and we've wondered about and suspected her since day one. It was beautiful and disturbing. A+. We were also introduced to Anna, a supposedly troubled girl who can hear angels and who is in horrible danger from both sides because of it. She is immediately conflicted enough to fit right in with our problematic brothers. The demon Alastair bursts on the scene, all blazing power and frightening snarkiness, and hints at just enough about Dean's time in hell to have us itching for more. A+ again.

    Unfortunately, everything that made IKWYDLS amazing, made H&H disappointing. Frame story about the angels' fall - both the heavenly angel Anna, and the earthly angel Dean, were attempted with absolutely no images to back them up. Words, words, words were all that the viewers got - a complex story of losing "grace," disobedience, the pleasures of being human, temptation, and the worst explanation of "God" that I've ever heard in any fictional genre was supposed to be communicated to the viewers through a few cryptic sentences from a character who we do not know, was literally dropped from heaven into our laps just a moment ago, and - oh, by the way - has suddenly woken up and remembered she's an angel. What? C-, and I'm grading on the curve here. And the story we've waited so long to hear, the final denouement of suffering Dean and his utter loss of self that he experienced in hell was handed to us in one tearful (albeit wonderfully acted) conversation. D+. Not enough. Not nearly enough.

    Let's talk about sex. The brothers' trauma is supposed to be punctuated by their individual groping after human feeling. Talk is cheap and I could go on for hours, but bottom line: Sam's worked. Dean's just felt...awkward. Sam's coupling with Ruby was dark, violent, and had nothing whatsoever to do with love. It was the definition of desperation. Dean's roll in the backseat of the Impala with Anna - probably written to epitomize his needs and fears about his own emotions - was simply missing something. Props to the actress for big eyes and soulful looks, but it just didn't work. Anna, fallen angel, wanted one more roll in the hay before heading back to virgin-town? That might have been funny if Dean got to be the Dean we all remember. This scene had no passion to sustain it, and, if that was the point, to show love rather than passion, well it didn't work, either.

    So we end up with a rather good fight scene - Demons -1, Angels -3, and, if the angels are the good guys of this piece, well woo-hoo and Praise the Lord, but that is yet to be determined. Anna is a casualty - back to heaven with her, a place that, apparently, none of us should ever wish to go. What exactly are we fighting for, again?

    Great dramatic build up, disappointing result. Why couldn't Anna's story have spanned more than a two-episode arc? Was it really necessary to dash off a hasty angel story and convoluted explanation of her fall and shove it in between sex scenes? This was not the story to get fans over an eight week lull.
  • "We cant fight Heaven and Hell!"

    Sam and Dean help Anna try to remember. It turns out she's a fallen angel who loosed her powers when falling to Earth. Alasitair are after them. And now, the angels are after them too.

    I was rlly excited about this episode, the continuation of the previous one which had been rlly great, Sam and Dean running from hell AND Heaven, helping Anna. And... I was right! This episode was amazing! So great, so thrilling and full of action and drama, and suspense! Was awesome to see them running from the demons and the angels! This made the episode's plot great!moreless
Traci Dinwiddie

Traci Dinwiddie

Pamela Barnes

Guest Star

Robert Wisdom

Robert Wisdom


Guest Star

Mark Rolston

Mark Rolston


Guest Star

Julie McNiven

Julie McNiven

Anna Milton

Recurring Role

Misha Collins

Misha Collins


Recurring Role

Genevieve Cortese Padalecki

Genevieve Cortese Padalecki


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Dean: They... they sliced and carved and tore me in ways that you... Until there was nothing left. And then suddenly, I would be whole again. Like magic. So they can start all over. And Alastair, at the end of every day... every one, he would come over and he would make me an offer... to take me off the rack if I put souls on... If I started to torture. And every day I told him to stick it where the sun shines. For thirty years I told him. But then I couldn't do it any more, Sammy... I couldn't. And I got off that rack, God help me, I got right off and I started ripping them apart. I lost count of how many souls. The... the things that I did to them...
      Sam: Dean.... Dean, look, you held up for thirty years. That's longer than anyone would have.
      Dean: How I feel. This... inside me... I wish I couldn't feel anything, Sammy. I wish I couldn't feel a damn thing.

    • Dean: Don't normally see you off leash. Where's your boss?
      Uriel: Castiel? Oh he's... he's not here. You see, he has this weakness. He likes you.

    • Sam: You want Anna? Why?
      Uriel: Out of the way.
      Dean: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Okay, I know she's wiretapping your angel chats or whatever, but it's no reason to gank her.
      Uriel: Don't worry. I'll kill her gentle.
      Dean: You're some heartless sons of bitches, you know that?

    • Uriel: Give us the girl.
      Dean: Sorry. Get yourself another one. Try JDate.

    • Sam: Where's Bobby?
      Dean: Uh, the Dominican. He said we break anything, we buy it.
      Sam: Is he working a job?
      Dean: God, I hope so. Otherwise he's at Hedonism in a banana hammock and a trucker cap.
      Sam: Now that's seared in my brain.

    • Sam: She was convinced that he wasn't her real daddy.
      Dean: Who was? The plumber, hmmm? A little snaking the pipes?
      Sam: Dude, you're confusing reality with porn again.

    • Pamela: Sam, is that you?
      Sam: I'm right here.
      Pamela: Oh. Know how I can tell? That perky little ass of yours. You could bounce a nickel off that thing.

    • Anna: My mother, Amy, couldn't get pregnant. Always called me her little miracle. She had no idea how right she was.
      Dean: So, you just forgot that you were God's little Power Ranger?

    • Dean: That's another question. Why would you fall? Why would you want to be one of us?
      Anna: You don't mean that.
      Dean: I don't? A bunch of miserable bastards… I mean, eating, crapping, confused afraid.
      Anna: I don't know, there's loyalty, forgiveness… love.
      Dean: Pain.
      Anna: Chocolate cake.
      Dean: Guilt.
      Anna: Sex.
      Dean: Yeah, you got me there.

    • Ruby: What?
      Dean: Nothing. It's just… an angel and a demon, riding in the back seat. It's like the setup for a bad joke. Or a Penthouse Forum letter.
      Sam: Dude… reality… porn.
      Dean: You call this reality?

    • (Anna kisses him)
      Dean: What was that for?
      Anna: You know… our last night on Earth… all that.
      Dean: You're stealing my best line.

    • Ruby: I just came to talk.
      Alastair: About what? About how a demon is protecting an angel? We really must revoke your membership.

    • Uriel: Look at that. It's so cute when monkeys wear clothes.

    • Alastair: You know, I haven't been up here since Poland '43. Truth is, I loathe it. It's chilly. No stink of blood or sizzle of flesh or the wet flap of flayed skin.

    • Uriel: How dare you come in this room.. you pussing sore?
      Alastair: Name-calling. That hurt my feelings… you sanctimonious, fanatical prick.

    • Ruby: Sister, you're the Stanley Cup. And sooner or later, Heaven or Hell, they're gonna find you.
      Anna: I know. And that's why, I'm gonna get it back.
      Sam: What?
      Anna: My grace.
      Dean: You can do that?
      Anna: If I can find it.
      Dean: So what, you're just gonna take some divine bong hit, and shazam, you're Roma Downey?
      Anna: Something like that.

    • Dean: Iron walls drenched in salt. Demons can't even touch the joint.
      Ruby: Which I find racist, by the way.
      Dean: Write your Congressman.

    • Ruby: We can't fight Heaven and Hell. One side maybe, but not both. Not at once.
      Anna: Uhhh... guys? The angels are talking again.
      Sam: What are they saying?
      Anna: It's weird. Like a recording. A loop. It says, "Dean Winchester gives us Anna by midnight, or..."
      Dean: Or what?
      Anna: "...or we hurl him back to damnation."

  • NOTES (2)

    • Music: Ready For Love (Bad Company)

    • International Airdates:
      Denmark: February 15, 2009 on TV3
      UK: March 22, 2009 on ITV2
      Australia: May 11, 2009 on 7
      Sweden: May 17, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Norway: May 28, 2009, on FEM
      Portugal: June 29, 2009, on AXN
      Spain: November 2, 2009 on AXN
      Germany: December 21, 2009 on Sky Cinema Hits
      Poland: April 16, 2010 on TVN7
      New Zealand: April 21, 2010 on TV2
      Czech Republic: July 16, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Finland: June 14, 2011 on Sub
      Slovakia: March 27, 2013 on Markiza


    • Dean: So what, you're just gonna take some divine bong hit, and shazam, you're Roma Downey?
      The word SHAZAM was the magical word that would transform teenager Billy Batson into the superhero Captain Marvel, granting him godlike powers which included the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Stamina of Atlas, the Power of Zeus, the Invulnerability of Achilles and the Speed of Mercury. "Shazam!" is also the expression that Gomer Pyle used in the TV series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C..

    • Dean: So, you just forgot that you were God's little Power Ranger?
      Reference to the Japanese turned English children's show Power Rangers. It features five normal teenagers with the ability to morph into superheroes. The show was released in 1993 with many versions.

    • Dean: It's 2 a.m. somewhere.
      This quote is a reference to Jimmy Buffet's song It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. This song was released June of 2003 and has won the CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year. It was number 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs for 8 weeks.