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Supernatural University: Sowing Changes, Reaping ... Confusion

Gentle readers, I need your help! I have some critical logic and continuity issues with developmenta in the show's cosmology concerning Reapers. Since I don't ever want to be unhappy with any aspect of my favorite show, I'm looking for some Canon-Ball Award-worthy solutions to my dilemmas (and if that reference escaped you, check out this post). So this class is a challenge in creative cosmological thinking: can you find plausible explanations that address all my concerns? I'd appreciate it!


image13

Basically, I'm wrestling with decisions in the episodes Taxi Driver and I'm No Angel that
(a) appear to change essential lore about Reapers established earlier in the series; and
(b) suggest Reapers may be a specialty variety of angel, like Cupids or Rit Zien.

I'm going to explain my issues, and then throw open the comments to your hopefully problem-solving solutions!


ajay

Going Rogue

I started venting about Reapers in my review of Taxi Driver. Let me recap the crucial points here.

Reapers can be seen only by humans who are dead, dying or near death. This limitation on human perception (angels and monsters are different cases) was established right from the start in Faith, and was a key plot element in every story with a Reaper up until Taxi Driver. It drove the Winchesters to go bodiless in Death Takes A Holiday and Dean to contract with a shady doctor to kill and resuscitate him in Appointment In Samarra. The plausible reason for their imperceptibility is my next point.

Reaper

In their natural form, Reapers have no material bodies, and can make people who do perceive them see whatever appearance – and whatever else – the Reaper chooses to show them. Tessa made that point with Dean during In My Time Of Dying; she told him he had seen her first in her true diaphanous form, and she created the whole illusion of Tessa – including her comatose body and apparently grieving mother – to be able to approach him. The doomed nurse in Appointment In Samarra walked right through Tessa, so it was obvious she had no real physical form on Earth. Death Takes A Holiday confused that a bit because the demons handled their captured Reapers in the funeral home as if their bodies were solid and real, but I wrote that off to a combination of the spell imprisoning the Reapers and to the demons themselves having part of their essence on the same non-material plane as the Reapers and the ghostly Winchesters. Since demons are the remnants of damned human souls, I had no problem with them seeing the Reapers; that made perfect sense. And so did the idea that Death's personal scythe would be able to kill anything, in whatever form, material or otherwise.

AS059

Taxi Driver stood both of those things on their heads by making "rogue Reaper" Ajay both visible to everyone and physically tangible, even driving a cab and eating pizza, and offered no explanation at all for how that worked. The simplest possible logic was that Reapers – like otherwise intangible demons, angels, and some ghosts – had a previously unrevealed ability to possess humans, meaning a rogue Reaper could inhabit a human's body, but that didn't appear anywhere in the previous lore.

One possible explanation for that lack – if Reapers were monsters, anyway – could have been that the rules on Reapers changed in season six along with the rules on other monsters as Eve began to reach out from Purgatory to tweak her "children" in response to the pressure from Crowley and Castiel. That would imply the "rogue" aspect of Reapers taking solid human shape and trading in souls rather than simply guiding them was a recent development.


MD111

My single biggest problem with that solution is simply that Reapers don't seem to fit the mold of "monsters" as the show has presented them so far. Monsters – at least in terms of the beings destined for Purgatory rather than either Heaven or Hell – seem to consist of Leviathan, exiled there by God, and all the myriad creatures such as vampires, ghouls, skinwalkers, and the like warped from humanity and nature by Eve. Since Eve claimed kinship with Leviathan according to the Alpha vampire in There Will Be Blood (and appropriately to that claim exuded diluted black goo when Dean poisoned her in Mommy Dearest), that suggests all "monsters" arose from a common Leviathan-related source. They all share one common characteristic: they all prey on humans, particularly by eating them – or parts of them, anyway. The show's various "pagan gods" have all been portrayed as partaking of that same nature, deriving power from feeding on humans in one way or another. Were they all perhaps influenced by Leviathan?

The show has also seen humans we consider monsters for their actions – the Benders come to mind, as do the show's version of witches, who sold their souls for power – but full-spectrum, non-altered (as in, non-monster-infected) humans who indulge in evil wind up in Hell. Ghosts and demons are simply remnants of human souls, not distinct monsters, so human rules apply. Angels have now lost all their alien mystery and proven essentially human in their venality, even being transformed into humans when deprived of grace.

AS019

But I saw Reapers as different, at least until Taxi Driver. They didn't prey on humans; they simply collected souls as they died and facilitated their course to Heaven or Hell, as appropriate. Presumably, they similarly conveyed monster souls to Purgatory. We did see two Reapers forced to act outside their bounds: one trapped by Sue Ann LeGrange's spell into transferring one person's death to someone else, and Tessa, compelled by Azazel to exchange Dean's death for John's. But otherwise, Reapers came across as being neutral, more a force of nature than anything else; agents of the natural order, not monster violations against it. So where do they fit?


KillingApril 1-7-2014 12-25-03 AM 1366x768

The Angel Connection

The show as aired has never explicitly said this (unless I missed a script reference somewhere), but Taxi Driver and I'm No Angel both seemed to me to suggest Reapers may be a variety of angel. For example, look at the angelic light VFX used during the deaths of Ajay, Maurice, and April, all slain by angel blades, and note that April boasted of the real human woman not having minded the Reaper entering her.

There are some merits to that concept. One is the whole function of Reapers as psychopomps, escorting deceased souls to their proper destination. The show established in season six that human souls are the power sources for both Heaven and Hell. With God as the architect of that system, it makes sense that he'd have incorporated a means to ensure souls went where they belonged. He used angels as his servants for other duties; why not a dedicated type for the Reaper's job, as Cupids were dedicated to engineering certain human connections?

Based on everything that happened before, however, I have problems with accepting Reapers as a subset of angels. Here are my particular sticking points.

Death 10-10-2013 10-36-32 PM 1366x768

Reapers answer to Death, not to Heaven. It's very curious to me that any angels would have been designed to exist outside Heaven's control, being instead under the command of Death. (Of course, it also doesn't make any sense to me that angels, demons, or anyone could offer a Reaper anything of value to encourage it to go rogue and disobey Death ... I wouldn't!)


Luckyday

Demons can't possess angels. This is a real killer for me. Back in In My Time Of Dying, Azazel possessed Tessa (despite her lack of a physical body!) to use her ability to save Dean. We have never seen anything to suggest that a demon could possess an angel, so Azazel taking over a Reaper argues to me that Reapers aren't angels. As a rule, demons have been weaker than angels; only the most powerful demons, such as Alastair, could withstand smiting by Castiel, an ordinary angel. Even Lilith, the first and most powerful demon known, fled in The Monster At The End Of This Book when threatened with the power of an archangel. Demons also had no ability to kill angels until the angels' own swords became known and available through the civil war in Heaven. It makes no sense that a demon could possess a Reaper, if Reapers were angels. For that to work, Reapers would have to be uniquely weak angels.


MD114

Unless dealing with very special people (like Jimmy Novak, who could hear and understand Castiel to be persuaded into possession) or appearing only in dreams, angels must take human vessels in order to communicate with other humans; perceiving an angel's true form burns out a human's eyes. For Reapers to be able to do their work, humans have to be able to see them; if they were angels, that would depart from the usual trope of humans not being able to tolerate the sight or voice of an angel unless its grace is shielded within the body of a human vessel. This is a weaker argument than the other two, if only because it's possible that humans on the verge of death might be perceiving Reapers – and could perhaps perceive angels – spiritually, rather than physically, thus removing the limitations on a human's physical senses.

If Reapers were angels, Castiel would have known about them as he knew about other angel types, including archangels, Cupids, and Rit Zien. And if Castiel knew Reapers were angels and what they did, why wouldn't he have known that Reapers knew the way to Purgatory? And why wouldn't the angels have used Reaper access to Hell at need – for example, to rescue Dean without having to harrow Hell in force? One of the reasons I simply can't enjoy Taxi Driver with my brain engaged on the story is, it makes a mockery of the whole premise of season six's search for Purgatory, not to mention dismissing and negating all the struggle and sacrifice in every other story involving our characters with Purgatory and Hell. To me, it simply doesn't make sense.


CasWithTattooAndApril 1-7-2014 12-24-10 AM 863x766

Castiel and the Winchesters are warded against angelic detection, unless they pray. In I'm No Angel, Bartholomew engaged the entire network of rogue Reapers (and just how many of them could there possibly be? Death doesn't strike me as either tolerant or incompetent ...) to find Castiel specifically because angels had lost the ability to locate him after Cas got himself tattooed and vanished from angel radar. That argues Reapers aren't angels, particularly since different Reapers succeeded in finding both sets of targets – Castiel and the carved-rib Winchesters – when Bartholomew's angels couldn't. Reapers clearly can find the dying unerringly because that's their purpose; but since neither Cas nor the Winchesters were dying or near death when they were found, it strikes me that a Reaper's presumed special talent for finding souls wouldn't have overridden the targets' anti-angel warding, if Reapers were angels.


CanonBall

And so my question remains ...

Just what, exactly, are Reapers, and why are they apparently different now than they used to be?

Can you help me find satisfying answers that will make me happy? In case you haven't guessed, I get cranky when I can't make logical sense out of something. This probably means I think about irrelevant, intangible things way too much, but I'll admit that's one of my intrinsic character flaws. Still, I don't like being cranky, so I need help.

Can you toss me a Reaper Canon-Ball?

Thanks!


Comments  

percysowner
# percysowner 2014-02-10 22:00
I hope someone can do better than I can, but I do have a few ideas. My guess is that the "rogue reapers" came about during the time Lucifer had enslaved Death. It must have been pretty upsetting to have Death suddenly under the control of a fallen angel. The offshoot branch of Reapers may have made deals to ally with Lucifer (an angel) or Michael and his bunch of angels. In exchange for protection, they took on the properties of angels and began to work on their own supplying each side with souls. Once Lucifer was defeated and Death released, Death took back control of the majority of the Reapers. The ones who had defected and taken on angel properties he let go because they had been bad employees so they were fired. Also with Death back in control the Rogue Reapers lost some of their power and so continued to take bribes to try to regain some of that power. They also eat pizza because they know Death eats and they are mimicking Death to show both defiance (we are as good as you) and respect (taking on a unique characteristic of Death) Rogue Reapers have now become a new species a Reaper/Angel hybrid a Reapangle, like we have Labradoodles. While regular Reapers like Tessa and Bobby's Reaper remain the species that we are familiar with.

Okay, I'm just handwaving here because Rogue Reapers make NO sense to me. But this covers some of the issues. Maybe?
percysowner
# percysowner 2014-02-10 22:00
I hope someone can do better than I can, but I do have a few ideas. My guess is that the "rogue reapers" came about during the time Lucifer had enslaved Death. It must have been pretty upsetting to have Death suddenly under the control of a fallen angel. The offshoot branch of Reapers may have made deals to ally with Lucifer (an angel) or Michael and his bunch of angels. In exchange for protection, they took on the properties of angels and began to work on their own supplying each side with souls. Once Lucifer was defeated and Death released, Death took back control of the majority of the Reapers. The ones who had defected and taken on angel properties he let go because they had been bad employees so they were fired. Also with Death back in control the Rogue Reapers lost some of their power and so continued to take bribes to try to regain some of that power. They also eat pizza because they know Death eats and they are mimicking Death to show both defiance (we are as good as you) and respect (taking on a unique characteristic of Death) Rogue Reapers have now become a new species a Reaper/Angel hybrid a Reapangle, like we have Labradoodles. While regular Reapers like Tessa and Bobby's Reaper remain the species that we are familiar with.

Okay, I'm just handwaving here because Rogue Reapers make NO sense to me. But this covers some of the issues. Maybe?
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2014-02-10 22:19
There were some good thoughts there percysowner. I was putting my thoughts together right before your post appeared.

I like your idea of Lucifer 'turning' some reapers while he had Death under the spell. And them going rogue after Lucifer went bye-bye. They had to make a living some way. Ha.

I don't really think of them as being related to angels. I see them as their own entity, with their own abilities.

Or, leaning more towards being demon possessed. Or possible a different kind of demon. You know there are crossroads demons, etc. Many a demon has emitted some light when ganked in the past. From their central body and often their eyes glowed. I am picturing Uriel killing a few in the barn in S4. I don't have screen shots, sorry. Maybe being inside a human makes the glow brighter because of the human souls still inside. Or maybe the VFX guys just went a little overboard.

Nothing much else here. Just a couple of random thoughts. I don't really understand them but I guess I won't lose sleep over it either. I don't get all 'balled' up inside as some do over canon for the most part. Sometimes I get a little twinge and then just think, 'well, it's sci-fi'.

Thanks for making me think more on it though.
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2014-02-10 22:19
There were some good thoughts there percysowner. I was putting my thoughts together right before your post appeared.

I like your idea of Lucifer 'turning' some reapers while he had Death under the spell. And them going rogue after Lucifer went bye-bye. They had to make a living some way. Ha.

I don't really think of them as being related to angels. I see them as their own entity, with their own abilities.

Or, leaning more towards being demon possessed. Or possible a different kind of demon. You know there are crossroads demons, etc. Many a demon has emitted some light when ganked in the past. From their central body and often their eyes glowed. I am picturing Uriel killing a few in the barn in S4. I don't have screen shots, sorry. Maybe being inside a human makes the glow brighter because of the human souls still inside. Or maybe the VFX guys just went a little overboard.

Nothing much else here. Just a couple of random thoughts. I don't really understand them but I guess I won't lose sleep over it either. I don't get all 'balled' up inside as some do over canon for the most part. Sometimes I get a little twinge and then just think, 'well, it's sci-fi'.

Thanks for making me think more on it though.
Nancy
# Nancy 2014-02-10 22:22
My question is... Where are the souls going if both Heaven and Hell gates are closed?
Nancy
# Nancy 2014-02-10 22:22
My question is... Where are the souls going if both Heaven and Hell gates are closed?
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-02-11 07:05
Maybe God wanted kinder, gentler reapers (like in the old HBO show Dead Like Me where they were seen by healthy humans & ate food) so he added some qualities of lower angels. In the Supernatural world angel = bad so they didn't turn out well & were relegated to Purgatory as a dirty little secret. Then God decided to leave all the reapers up to Death.
Fast forward to season 6 and either the Rogue Reapers busted out & stayed out of Purgatory, like the Leviathon. Or, Rogue Reapers are the beings that reap monsters for Purgatory. Until the Leviathon outbreak, they were few & far between. Then demons took notice so Crowley knew about Ajay & recently even higher level angles learned of then.
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-02-11 07:05
Maybe God wanted kinder, gentler reapers (like in the old HBO show Dead Like Me where they were seen by healthy humans & ate food) so he added some qualities of lower angels. In the Supernatural world angel = bad so they didn't turn out well & were relegated to Purgatory as a dirty little secret. Then God decided to leave all the reapers up to Death.
Fast forward to season 6 and either the Rogue Reapers busted out & stayed out of Purgatory, like the Leviathon. Or, Rogue Reapers are the beings that reap monsters for Purgatory. Until the Leviathon outbreak, they were few & far between. Then demons took notice so Crowley knew about Ajay & recently even higher level angles learned of then.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-02-11 07:22
i never really was bothered by it and i thought that one line that was put in the eppy explained it enough.
rogue reapers were said to have special skills. the term rogue alone meant that they didn't follow the rules they did what they wanted to do for their own selffish reasons. i simply associated rogue reapers to be like mercenaries.
heaven's angels didn't follow God's rules so,i didn't find it all that shocking that angels of death wouldn't follow Death's rules.
now death himself has always been referred to as an angel of death. and show has made it known that there were all kinds of angels. death himself, who is known as the grim reaper actually said he can reap God. So i assumed death and God were the same type of entity. Heck in the whole brother scheme of things that show has followed, i thought death and God were brothers. going back to the whole original plot line of one brother having to kill the other and all that.
anyhoo, i always thought reapers were in fact angels. ea. angel has a specific job they're assigned and i assumed death himself was in charge of this faction. reapers have rules they must follow and i figure rogues break these rules.
now as for their corporeal bodies, even though we didn't see it, i don't see how it is that they were unable to get consent. jimmy novak consented to cas. i never had a problem in believing that a rogue reaper angel would be able to get consent. much like lucifer had.
that's just my theory. like i said it never really bothered me. i never thought it was against canon, and in i'm no angel it was made perfectly clear, at least to me that bart went to a roque because of their special skills. i left special skills as an open idea meaning that whatever it is these particular reapers are doing, they are specific to these particular angels. kind of like the marines. or special ops. they can do things that no ordinary soldier could do. but how often do you see a movie in which these particular soliders become mercenaries and go their own way using those skills for their own personal benefit.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-02-11 07:22
i never really was bothered by it and i thought that one line that was put in the eppy explained it enough.
rogue reapers were said to have special skills. the term rogue alone meant that they didn't follow the rules they did what they wanted to do for their own selffish reasons. i simply associated rogue reapers to be like mercenaries.
heaven's angels didn't follow God's rules so,i didn't find it all that shocking that angels of death wouldn't follow Death's rules.
now death himself has always been referred to as an angel of death. and show has made it known that there were all kinds of angels. death himself, who is known as the grim reaper actually said he can reap God. So i assumed death and God were the same type of entity. Heck in the whole brother scheme of things that show has followed, i thought death and God were brothers. going back to the whole original plot line of one brother having to kill the other and all that.
anyhoo, i always thought reapers were in fact angels. ea. angel has a specific job they're assigned and i assumed death himself was in charge of this faction. reapers have rules they must follow and i figure rogues break these rules.
now as for their corporeal bodies, even though we didn't see it, i don't see how it is that they were unable to get consent. jimmy novak consented to cas. i never had a problem in believing that a rogue reaper angel would be able to get consent. much like lucifer had.
that's just my theory. like i said it never really bothered me. i never thought it was against canon, and in i'm no angel it was made perfectly clear, at least to me that bart went to a roque because of their special skills. i left special skills as an open idea meaning that whatever it is these particular reapers are doing, they are specific to these particular angels. kind of like the marines. or special ops. they can do things that no ordinary soldier could do. but how often do you see a movie in which these particular soliders become mercenaries and go their own way using those skills for their own personal benefit.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-02-11 08:03
Bardicvoice - this piece of exposition is so I can follow my own logic...

Demons were human souls twisted/torture d by their time in hell. they can possess humans against their will.

Angels were created by God after the Leviathans.

Ghosts are human souls that choose to stay behind; either they are unwilling to move on, or have some unfinished business. They can also be summoned.

Monsters are from purgatory; a human can become a monster by being infected/bitten by another monster. Monsters appear to have a "first", or Alpha, created by Eve. Most of the Alphas were killed, except for the Alpha vampire.

I view reapers similar to angels only insofar as they were never human, created by, and servants of Death in the same manner as angels were created by God. Angels in their real form are only visible to few chosen humans. Demons appear as a cloud of smoke. Both are "visible" to humans when they possess a human. Reapers need to escort human souls to both heaven and hell, so I don't think they qualify as either demon or angel.

We found out in First Born that a demon (Crowley) can possess the same vessel (Sam) as an angel (Gadreel). Under normal circumstances, not a good idea because rock beats scissors and angels beat most demons.

To me, it is consistent in the Supernatural universe that a reaper could also possess a human, just as demons and angels can, and that is the show's definition of a rogue reaper. Unlike an angel, they don't appear to require consent and would be similar to demons in that regard. And, as with angels and demons, I think they are more vulnerable when possessing humans than in their usual form.

That being said, the show's take on reapers has changed significantly since one first appeared in Faith.

As far as why Rogue Reapers are tolerated by Death, that's a good question. In Supernatural, God is portrayed as having left heaven, leaving the angels in charge. Maybe Death just doesn't care enough anymore. He did tell Dean in 7.01 that "Maybe I should spend my effort on a better planet". Also, as Joshua said about God to Sam and Dean in the Cleveland botanical garden, "Why does he allow evil in the first place? You could drive yourself nuts asking questions like that." :D
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-02-11 08:03
Bardicvoice - this piece of exposition is so I can follow my own logic...

Demons were human souls twisted/torture d by their time in hell. they can possess humans against their will.

Angels were created by God after the Leviathans.

Ghosts are human souls that choose to stay behind; either they are unwilling to move on, or have some unfinished business. They can also be summoned.

Monsters are from purgatory; a human can become a monster by being infected/bitten by another monster. Monsters appear to have a "first", or Alpha, created by Eve. Most of the Alphas were killed, except for the Alpha vampire.

I view reapers similar to angels only insofar as they were never human, created by, and servants of Death in the same manner as angels were created by God. Angels in their real form are only visible to few chosen humans. Demons appear as a cloud of smoke. Both are "visible" to humans when they possess a human. Reapers need to escort human souls to both heaven and hell, so I don't think they qualify as either demon or angel.

We found out in First Born that a demon (Crowley) can possess the same vessel (Sam) as an angel (Gadreel). Under normal circumstances, not a good idea because rock beats scissors and angels beat most demons.

To me, it is consistent in the Supernatural universe that a reaper could also possess a human, just as demons and angels can, and that is the show's definition of a rogue reaper. Unlike an angel, they don't appear to require consent and would be similar to demons in that regard. And, as with angels and demons, I think they are more vulnerable when possessing humans than in their usual form.

That being said, the show's take on reapers has changed significantly since one first appeared in Faith.

As far as why Rogue Reapers are tolerated by Death, that's a good question. In Supernatural, God is portrayed as having left heaven, leaving the angels in charge. Maybe Death just doesn't care enough anymore. He did tell Dean in 7.01 that "Maybe I should spend my effort on a better planet". Also, as Joshua said about God to Sam and Dean in the Cleveland botanical garden, "Why does he allow evil in the first place? You could drive yourself nuts asking questions like that." :D
ME
# ME 2014-02-11 08:55
Oh, Bardicvoice, how I do love your questioning mind...

We had a very long discussion about reapers when you introduced the Cannonball Award. Someone came up with the idea that reapers can possess humans like demons and angels and this allows them to not only be visible to humans, but also vulnerable to being killed with the angel sword. It also in it's nature may be what makes them rogue if this possessing thing is just too taboo. This is similarly how I explained away Cas being able to steal another angel's grace all the sudden--basical ly it was an available option in the past, but was forbidden and considered to be the worst of the worst that an angel could do, so they just didn't do it.

Now why a reaper would want to possess a human and make themselves vulnerable when they could...um...su rvive? No clue. And why Death is allowing this to happen? I got nothing. But for the most part this possession idea has allowed me to move on. I'm still a bit cranky about it though, mostly because I don't feel like this confusion was at all necessary.

And now I will share with you my whack-a-do theory I am currently working on...
I definitely think of reapers as their own entity. But what exactly are they? Don't know. I have been working on a theory lately that reapers were created by Death, not God. Death said that he and God are very old and that neither remember who is older, which suggests that God did not create Death and they are somewhat equal entities. So, if God can create things like angels, leviathans and humans, why can't Death create his own minions? I have been working on the notion that Death created his reapers to deal with the human souls wandering around after humans die--all that untapped power being left behind and all--harnessing human souls to power Heaven and God's work maybe. But then along comes Eve and starts turning humans into monsters...what do you do with those souls, they can't go to heaven, so he starts sending them to Purgatory. And then this upstart little angel starts twisting and warping human souls, they can't go to heaven either...banish them to Hell. Things seem to mostly stabilize on Earth and this balance has kept things in check until those crack-pot Winchesters decided to put a wrench in things with Free Will. Now, everything is out of balance and all things are running amok, kind of like what Balthazar was up to in season six.

So, I've been wondering if the rogue reapers represent how out of balance things are. And I am hoping that this will lead to Death coming back to help restore some of the balance he previously created. I do love me some Death...maybe that didn't come out quite right, hee!
ME
# ME 2014-02-11 08:55
Oh, Bardicvoice, how I do love your questioning mind...

We had a very long discussion about reapers when you introduced the Cannonball Award. Someone came up with the idea that reapers can possess humans like demons and angels and this allows them to not only be visible to humans, but also vulnerable to being killed with the angel sword. It also in it's nature may be what makes them rogue if this possessing thing is just too taboo. This is similarly how I explained away Cas being able to steal another angel's grace all the sudden--basical ly it was an available option in the past, but was forbidden and considered to be the worst of the worst that an angel could do, so they just didn't do it.

Now why a reaper would want to possess a human and make themselves vulnerable when they could...um...su rvive? No clue. And why Death is allowing this to happen? I got nothing. But for the most part this possession idea has allowed me to move on. I'm still a bit cranky about it though, mostly because I don't feel like this confusion was at all necessary.

And now I will share with you my whack-a-do theory I am currently working on...
I definitely think of reapers as their own entity. But what exactly are they? Don't know. I have been working on a theory lately that reapers were created by Death, not God. Death said that he and God are very old and that neither remember who is older, which suggests that God did not create Death and they are somewhat equal entities. So, if God can create things like angels, leviathans and humans, why can't Death create his own minions? I have been working on the notion that Death created his reapers to deal with the human souls wandering around after humans die--all that untapped power being left behind and all--harnessing human souls to power Heaven and God's work maybe. But then along comes Eve and starts turning humans into monsters...what do you do with those souls, they can't go to heaven, so he starts sending them to Purgatory. And then this upstart little angel starts twisting and warping human souls, they can't go to heaven either...banish them to Hell. Things seem to mostly stabilize on Earth and this balance has kept things in check until those crack-pot Winchesters decided to put a wrench in things with Free Will. Now, everything is out of balance and all things are running amok, kind of like what Balthazar was up to in season six.

So, I've been wondering if the rogue reapers represent how out of balance things are. And I am hoping that this will lead to Death coming back to help restore some of the balance he previously created. I do love me some Death...maybe that didn't come out quite right, hee!
Grace232
# Grace232 2014-02-12 01:47
#3Nancy - my thoughts: Heaven is not closed - just closed to angels. So I think all the souls are still there, just no angels except Metatron (maybe- I wonder if the spell sent him to earth too). And Hell is not closed, since Sam never finished the trials.

Still contemplating the reaper questions here.
Grace232
# Grace232 2014-02-12 01:47
#3Nancy - my thoughts: Heaven is not closed - just closed to angels. So I think all the souls are still there, just no angels except Metatron (maybe- I wonder if the spell sent him to earth too). And Hell is not closed, since Sam never finished the trials.

Still contemplating the reaper questions here.
novi
# novi 2014-02-12 01:57
Don't get it why people can't see reapers as human souls, just look at them - don't they look (with the exception of Tessa) all zombie-esqe, like the walking dead out of their coffins just after the funerals? My take on them is that reapers are ex-humans chosen to do their work due to some special abilities. Don't ask me... If reapers are ghosts they can posess and be posessed like Bobby posessed that cleaner girl, they also can be tempted and corrupted both by demons and angels. If the reapers are ghosts there is abundance of material to use, so maybe Death doesn't value them so much, and maybe he is not that much of a stickler for discipline. I love that idea that God and Death are brothers! If Death's all thoughts are about his lil bro who ran away, again, and who he will have to reap one
day, then no wonder he doesn't care a bit about his wayward employees.
I hope the time will come when Bardicvoice will write some meta on SPNGenesis: first God made Garden, the center and the most beautiful place in the universe. Second he made Leviathan the destroyers... and so on. I think we do need something like this. I wish I could inspire you, maybe I managed to? Then thank you in advance.
novi
# novi 2014-02-12 01:57
Don't get it why people can't see reapers as human souls, just look at them - don't they look (with the exception of Tessa) all zombie-esqe, like the walking dead out of their coffins just after the funerals? My take on them is that reapers are ex-humans chosen to do their work due to some special abilities. Don't ask me... If reapers are ghosts they can posess and be posessed like Bobby posessed that cleaner girl, they also can be tempted and corrupted both by demons and angels. If the reapers are ghosts there is abundance of material to use, so maybe Death doesn't value them so much, and maybe he is not that much of a stickler for discipline. I love that idea that God and Death are brothers! If Death's all thoughts are about his lil bro who ran away, again, and who he will have to reap one
day, then no wonder he doesn't care a bit about his wayward employees.
I hope the time will come when Bardicvoice will write some meta on SPNGenesis: first God made Garden, the center and the most beautiful place in the universe. Second he made Leviathan the destroyers... and so on. I think we do need something like this. I wish I could inspire you, maybe I managed to? Then thank you in advance.
Grace232
# Grace232 2014-02-12 04:28
Okay, Bardicvoice, here us my theory:

Reapers are all like Tessa and can only be seen by the dead or dying, and as she told Dean, it is her sandbox, so the reaper can make the dead or dying see whatever they like.

Occasionally, though, a reaper goes dark (angels can fall, humans can go to the dark side, and on my theory, this can happen with a reaper). When a reaper does this, they misuse the power that they get from their boss, Death, which is only supposed to be used on their assigned duties - and they possess a human so they can experience and indulge human pleasures. When they so this, they are no longer reapers, cut off from Death, but they still know a lot of tricks, such as how to be a Hell coyote. And, they use those tricks to line their pockets, feed their greed - since they need funds and have to stay somewhat under the radar since they are probably hunted by those they have betrayed (Death?).

What say you?
Grace232
# Grace232 2014-02-12 04:28
Okay, Bardicvoice, here us my theory:

Reapers are all like Tessa and can only be seen by the dead or dying, and as she told Dean, it is her sandbox, so the reaper can make the dead or dying see whatever they like.

Occasionally, though, a reaper goes dark (angels can fall, humans can go to the dark side, and on my theory, this can happen with a reaper). When a reaper does this, they misuse the power that they get from their boss, Death, which is only supposed to be used on their assigned duties - and they possess a human so they can experience and indulge human pleasures. When they so this, they are no longer reapers, cut off from Death, but they still know a lot of tricks, such as how to be a Hell coyote. And, they use those tricks to line their pockets, feed their greed - since they need funds and have to stay somewhat under the radar since they are probably hunted by those they have betrayed (Death?).

What say you?
Ale
# Ale 2014-02-12 19:10
I agree with some posts here. I see angels (in SPN) as a kind of God’s agents, close to God, that were given a portion of God’s power of Life / creation (their grace – Anna said that her grace was pure creation), like healing powers, or the ability to, at some extent, travel in time and be everywhere at the same time, since God is everywhere.

I see Death as powerful as God, but with a different kind of power. Not opposed to God, but with a power that complements God’s – the one of destruction, but with the purpose of renovation, rebirth, that is a very importante of part of Life itself. The gardian of “the natural order”. And I see reapers as Death’s agents, a diferente kind of entity (possibly created by God - why not?, since God is the Creator, as a necessity to Life), with powers given by Death correspondent to the task – make people see it is their time to go, lead their souls to the other side, with powers that permit them to do their task: make the souls see what they need to see to be convinced, or penetrate (kind of possess) their brains when their are in a coma (like the reaper did with Bobby).

Therefore, if angels (incorporeal beings) were given the power to possess people in order to interact with humans, there is no reason reapers (also incorporeal beings) cannot have the same ability, also in order to Interact with people. They may need or may not need consent, since possession may sometimes be needed to complete their task (Bobby situation).

God’s job, in SPN, is to create life and have Faith in His creation, but not to interviene. Thus, the free will. As far as we have seen, Death feels the same. His (in SPN, a man) job is to assure souls are taken (reaped) when the time comes, preserving the natural order. To where it is taken is not His concern – He is not interest in the battle for souls. I see Him, therefore, as also a believer in free will, to all creatures, including his reapers.

Now, why rogue reapears?

We were told in SPN that, in the beggining, angels were supposed to respect, love and observe humans, as part of God’s creation, but not to interviene, or even take bodies on Earth. Be the protectors of the Creation. But, as far as I could see, the major problem with angels, all angels, is pride. Of course, Lucifer is the ultimate example of it, but in SPN I see ALL angels suffering from this same disease – even Cass. Because they were so close to God in Heaven, because their mission was given by God Himself and because they are so powerful, with God like powers, they cannot simpatize, therefore, they look down at humans. Lucifer, of course, hated humans, but we have seen Michael say something like it to Dean, Zacharias, Gabriel... Even “good” angels, like Samandriel, said that Dean was just a man and he was an angel. Cass said that too to Dean (now, he is learning to appreciate human strengh). Because of that pride, the Archangels started the Apocalypse, and in the mayhem that followed, many other angels got lost from their initial mission – givem by God - to protect Life. Pride is the same affliction of Metatron and Zeke/not Zeke.

This mayhem post the Apocalypse not happening (and, for me, the archangels are to blame, not the Winchesters – their ungreatefull task seams to be try to clean the house everywhere) filled more and more angels with doubts, making them so lost in their purpose that some even started to work for demons (like the one Crowley bought last season). So, to me, it is not far fetched that some reapers started to raise the same doubts for their mission, since even Death is pissed at the catostriphic situation of the natural order. So, reapers, as with angels in the beginning, were not supposed to take human bodies front and center for selfish reasons, but these not satisfied, rogue reapers, do.

Just one thing I cannot agree with you, Bardicvioice. I cannot see God as the architect of Hell. I believe God’s plan was that all human souls were supposed to go to Heaven. Lucifer, though, twisted a soul to became so evil it couldn’t go to Heaven – it become Lucifer’s soul. What I believe is that Hell is a place created by Lucifer (since we’ve seen powerful angels can create other realms) as a place to colect “his” souls and turn them into his agentes – demons – created to gain more souls to Lucifer. Lucifer created the war of souls, just to show God that humans are more evil, imperfect and unworthy of God’s love, than good.

Bardicvoice, my effort here to answer you is pure selfish. I want you to be happy with the show, not crancky, because I would LOVE to read your views on the episodes again. Did I help you/myself? Sorry for a lot of wrong words – my compute is set to autocorrect in another language and I’m too lazy now to set it straight.

Cheers!
Ale
# Ale 2014-02-12 19:10
I agree with some posts here. I see angels (in SPN) as a kind of God’s agents, close to God, that were given a portion of God’s power of Life / creation (their grace – Anna said that her grace was pure creation), like healing powers, or the ability to, at some extent, travel in time and be everywhere at the same time, since God is everywhere.

I see Death as powerful as God, but with a different kind of power. Not opposed to God, but with a power that complements God’s – the one of destruction, but with the purpose of renovation, rebirth, that is a very importante of part of Life itself. The gardian of “the natural order”. And I see reapers as Death’s agents, a diferente kind of entity (possibly created by God - why not?, since God is the Creator, as a necessity to Life), with powers given by Death correspondent to the task – make people see it is their time to go, lead their souls to the other side, with powers that permit them to do their task: make the souls see what they need to see to be convinced, or penetrate (kind of possess) their brains when their are in a coma (like the reaper did with Bobby).

Therefore, if angels (incorporeal beings) were given the power to possess people in order to interact with humans, there is no reason reapers (also incorporeal beings) cannot have the same ability, also in order to Interact with people. They may need or may not need consent, since possession may sometimes be needed to complete their task (Bobby situation).

God’s job, in SPN, is to create life and have Faith in His creation, but not to interviene. Thus, the free will. As far as we have seen, Death feels the same. His (in SPN, a man) job is to assure souls are taken (reaped) when the time comes, preserving the natural order. To where it is taken is not His concern – He is not interest in the battle for souls. I see Him, therefore, as also a believer in free will, to all creatures, including his reapers.

Now, why rogue reapears?

We were told in SPN that, in the beggining, angels were supposed to respect, love and observe humans, as part of God’s creation, but not to interviene, or even take bodies on Earth. Be the protectors of the Creation. But, as far as I could see, the major problem with angels, all angels, is pride. Of course, Lucifer is the ultimate example of it, but in SPN I see ALL angels suffering from this same disease – even Cass. Because they were so close to God in Heaven, because their mission was given by God Himself and because they are so powerful, with God like powers, they cannot simpatize, therefore, they look down at humans. Lucifer, of course, hated humans, but we have seen Michael say something like it to Dean, Zacharias, Gabriel... Even “good” angels, like Samandriel, said that Dean was just a man and he was an angel. Cass said that too to Dean (now, he is learning to appreciate human strengh). Because of that pride, the Archangels started the Apocalypse, and in the mayhem that followed, many other angels got lost from their initial mission – givem by God - to protect Life. Pride is the same affliction of Metatron and Zeke/not Zeke.

This mayhem post the Apocalypse not happening (and, for me, the archangels are to blame, not the Winchesters – their ungreatefull task seams to be try to clean the house everywhere) filled more and more angels with doubts, making them so lost in their purpose that some even started to work for demons (like the one Crowley bought last season). So, to me, it is not far fetched that some reapers started to raise the same doubts for their mission, since even Death is pissed at the catostriphic situation of the natural order. So, reapers, as with angels in the beginning, were not supposed to take human bodies front and center for selfish reasons, but these not satisfied, rogue reapers, do.

Just one thing I cannot agree with you, Bardicvioice. I cannot see God as the architect of Hell. I believe God’s plan was that all human souls were supposed to go to Heaven. Lucifer, though, twisted a soul to became so evil it couldn’t go to Heaven – it become Lucifer’s soul. What I believe is that Hell is a place created by Lucifer (since we’ve seen powerful angels can create other realms) as a place to colect “his” souls and turn them into his agentes – demons – created to gain more souls to Lucifer. Lucifer created the war of souls, just to show God that humans are more evil, imperfect and unworthy of God’s love, than good.

Bardicvoice, my effort here to answer you is pure selfish. I want you to be happy with the show, not crancky, because I would LOVE to read your views on the episodes again. Did I help you/myself? Sorry for a lot of wrong words – my compute is set to autocorrect in another language and I’m too lazy now to set it straight.

Cheers!
suenash19
# suenash19 2014-02-16 08:50
1. Seeing reapers

Regarding who can see reapers may I offer the "Thestral Theory" - much as in Harry Potter only those who have witnessed death can see Thestrals, in Supernatural only those who are dying or who have died ( e.g. Sam and Dean) can see reapers.

2. Reapers with corporeal form

In Supernatural Reapers are spirit beings, which appear to be able to take corporeal form. However, are there any scenes in Taxi Driver where this is necessarily the case? Are Sam and Dean just seeing what the reaper wants them to see? They can see him, and given that fact, he tries to present himself as an ordinary person.

@1 percysowner by the way the Rogue reaper, Ajay, in Taxi Driver was Bobby's reaper...."if you're on the King of Hell's no-fly list - ain't no way you're gonna cruise the friendly skies"
suenash19
# suenash19 2014-02-16 08:50
1. Seeing reapers

Regarding who can see reapers may I offer the "Thestral Theory" - much as in Harry Potter only those who have witnessed death can see Thestrals, in Supernatural only those who are dying or who have died ( e.g. Sam and Dean) can see reapers.

2. Reapers with corporeal form

In Supernatural Reapers are spirit beings, which appear to be able to take corporeal form. However, are there any scenes in Taxi Driver where this is necessarily the case? Are Sam and Dean just seeing what the reaper wants them to see? They can see him, and given that fact, he tries to present himself as an ordinary person.

@1 percysowner by the way the Rogue reaper, Ajay, in Taxi Driver was Bobby's reaper...."if you're on the King of Hell's no-fly list - ain't no way you're gonna cruise the friendly skies"
E
# E 2014-02-16 12:46
I hated the rouge reapers when they were introduced, and still don't care much for them. I felt that they were inconsistent at best, and destructive of established canon at worst. They seemed to me to be the product of poor writing and a lack of attention to established facts more than anything; and easy out to a sticky plot problem. However, I really like all of you guy's theories about rogue reapers and how they may have come into being and why they are there. I particularly like Ale and suenash19's explanations; I could go with either of these and be perfectly happy with the logic that they've presented. For me the problem is not so much the rogue reapers themselves, it's the lack of set up and proper explanation for them that bugs me. We find out that rogue reapers take on hosts, like angels and demons, through an offhand comment made by April in season 9. Her comment was in fact so vague, that we then had to extrapolate what it must mean in terms of how rogue reapers operate instead of being shown unequivocally how they function and WHY they might need to make use of a host. It was just blurted out in the middle of an episode as though the fact that April had to gain entrance to her host through permission was a well established fact. I guess the PTB didn't realize that it WASN'T an established fact. That's what bugs me the most about them is how shoddily they've been handled. They are a writing device used to get the writers out of a corner and IMO not handled very well. It's easy to retcon stuff if you are careful to research your own established history. Look at how masterfully they retconed the Croatoan virus and Gabriel being an Archangel instead of just a trickster. If they had just explained rouge reapers a little more, given them context, explained how they work and why they were useful then I could have been more on board with the changes in canon.
E
# E 2014-02-16 12:46
I hated the rouge reapers when they were introduced, and still don't care much for them. I felt that they were inconsistent at best, and destructive of established canon at worst. They seemed to me to be the product of poor writing and a lack of attention to established facts more than anything; and easy out to a sticky plot problem. However, I really like all of you guy's theories about rogue reapers and how they may have come into being and why they are there. I particularly like Ale and suenash19's explanations; I could go with either of these and be perfectly happy with the logic that they've presented. For me the problem is not so much the rogue reapers themselves, it's the lack of set up and proper explanation for them that bugs me. We find out that rogue reapers take on hosts, like angels and demons, through an offhand comment made by April in season 9. Her comment was in fact so vague, that we then had to extrapolate what it must mean in terms of how rogue reapers operate instead of being shown unequivocally how they function and WHY they might need to make use of a host. It was just blurted out in the middle of an episode as though the fact that April had to gain entrance to her host through permission was a well established fact. I guess the PTB didn't realize that it WASN'T an established fact. That's what bugs me the most about them is how shoddily they've been handled. They are a writing device used to get the writers out of a corner and IMO not handled very well. It's easy to retcon stuff if you are careful to research your own established history. Look at how masterfully they retconed the Croatoan virus and Gabriel being an Archangel instead of just a trickster. If they had just explained rouge reapers a little more, given them context, explained how they work and why they were useful then I could have been more on board with the changes in canon.