The Vessel is the 14th episode of Season 11. It aired on February 17th, 2016.
Hoping to find a weapon powerful enough to defeat Amara, Dean convinces “Castiel,” who is still Lucifer, to send him back in time to the last reported sighting of the Hand of God. Lucifer sees the potential in getting his hands on this weapon so goes along as Castiel and sends Dean to 1944 to the fated submarine mission that sunk the Hand of God. Meanwhile, continuing his charade with Sam while they wait for Dean’s return, Lucifer plans his next move.
A piece of the original Ark of the Covenant, referred to as the Hand of God, is found by the Nazis' archaeological branch, known as the Ahnenerbe. A Woman of Letters, Delphine Seydoux, is sent undercover to retrieve it from the SS Officer Befehlsleiter Gumprecht. Upon confirming its authenticity, Delphine first stabs Gumprecht in the neck and then the gut, before she steals away with the Hand of God onto the USS Bluefin for transport to the U.S. with the intention of bringing it to the Men of Letters Bunker.
When Sam and Dean discover the existence of the Hand of God in 2016, they have "Castiel" (Lucifer) time travel with Dean to 1943 to retrieve it from the ill-fated USS Bluefin before the sub is lost forever. Due to Delphine placing specialized warding sigils on the sub, Lucifer is not able to get past the hull, allowing only Dean to make it on the sub.
Dean tracks down Delphine on the sub. While talking to her, he says her name, which causes Delphine to put a knife to his neck since no one on the ship knows her name. Dean comes clean to Delphine and the sub's captain about being a member of the Men of Letters from the future, and that the ship will soon be sunk. While the captain dismisses Dean's claims, Delphine continues speaking with him and telling him of the warding she placed on the sub to protect the Hand of God from supernatural interference. Dean tells Delphine they will need to clear the warding to allow him to go back to 2016. He asks Delphine to give him the Hand of God, telling her he is fighting his own Biblical war in the future. Delphine agrees and begins breaking the sigils painted on the ship. However, the final one is carved on her chest, making the spell bound to her heart; the only way to break it is to kill her. Dean refuses, but Delphine insists that it's the only way. As Dean is about to drive the knife into Delphine, the ship is attacked by a German destroyer.
Meanwhile, at the Bunker in 2016, Sam hits the books looking for a way to retrieve Dean. He finds a spell that will clear the warding, but is discouraged when he realizes that it requires the power of an archangel. Lucifer begins the spell despite Sam's protests that "Castiel" is not strong enough to survive the casting. In desperation, he offers to let his friend touch his soul in order to gain the power that Sam thinks he needs. Lucifer realizes that he will have no use for Sam once he has the power of the Hand of God, and therefore no reason to keep him alive or continue to pretend to be Castiel. He reveals his identity, attacks Sam, and is preparing to kill him via soul-touch when Castiel takes control of the vessel and stops him. Sam tells Castiel to expel Lucifer but the angel refuses, saying that they need Lucifer's power to save Dean.
Dean, Delphine, and Petey Giraldi make it to the operations room, where Delphine is shocked to hear the voice of Befehlsleiter Gumprecht over the radio; he survived due to being a member of the Thule Society. Gumprecht offers Captain Deerborn a deal -- Delphine and the Hand of God for the highest of P.O.W. treatment for the Bluefin crew. Dean asks Delphine to show him how he can use the Hand of God to save them. Delphine denies him, out of worry he will be killed and the Hand of God will just end up back in Nazi hands. She tells Dean that the Bluefin crew were meant to die and now they will do it with purpose. Delphine takes the Hand of God into her hand and is imbued with its power, becoming bathed in a blinding white light that destroys the sigil on her chest, allowing Lucifer to retrieve Dean and the Hand of God.
Upon Dean and Lucifer's return to the Bunker, Sam reveals Lucifer's identity. A gleeful Lucifer states his plans to use the Hand of God to destroy the Darkness which he feels will be "no problem" and states that he first intends to use it to kill the Winchesters. As Sam begins discreetly forming an angel banishing sigil on a pillar, Lucifer attempts to draw power from the Hand of God only to discover that Delphine exhausted its power. As Lucifer goes to kill Dean, Sam uses his angel banishing sigil to banish Lucifer from the bunker.
In the aftermath, the Winchesters reflect on the events on an abandoned dock. Dean states his intention to trap Lucifer and free Castiel from his control, but Sam believes that it will not be so easy since Castiel voluntarily allowed Lucifer to take control of him. However, Dean refuses to believe that his friend won't want to come back to them. In shock from what he witnessed, Dean tells Sam that while in the past, he was just a witness to the events and ultimately did nothing.
Before Sam leaves him alone, Dean asks about the fate of Gumprecht's destroyer. Sam states that the wreckage was found with a huge hole ripped through it, showing that the sacrifices of Delphine and the Bluefin crew were not in vain. After Sam leaves, Dean sits on the dock alone with the Hand of God, reflecting on the sacrifices of those he met on his trip.
- Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester
- Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester
- Misha Collins as Lucifer and Castiel
- Mark Sheppard as Crowley
Guest cast Edit
- Weronika Rosati as Delphine Seydoux
- Grant Harvey as Petey Giraldi
- Bethany Brown as Simmons
- Darren Dolynski as Captain James Dearborn
- Taylor St. Pierre as Galley Cook
- Richard Stroh as Befehlsleiter (Nazi Command Leader) Gumprecht
Featured Supernatural BeingsEdit
- Sam and Dean discover Lucifer's possession of Castiel.
- Marks the first appearance of a member of one of the Thules since Everybody Hates Hitler.
- Crowley's fate after The Devil in the Details is revealed in this episode.
- The last episode to display time travel was King of the Damned, when Abaddon went back in time to retrieve Gavin MacLeod.
- This episode marks the fifth time Dean has traveled to the past. The previous time was in episode Time After Time.
- This is the second occurrence of time travel being employed to retrieve something necessary from the past. The first was in Frontierland to get the ashes of a phoenix.
- Castiel using Bobby's soul to power up in Frontierland is referenced by Sam.
- First appearance of the angel banishing sigil since season 9's Heaven Can't Wait and first successful usage since I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here. Also, first use of the sigil against an archangel.
- The episode title, refers the set used in this episode, a submarine. It may also reference Sam and Dean discovering Castiel's status of being Lucifer's vessel.
- When Delphine stabs the German soldier, she says "The Men of Letters send their regards". This can be a reference to "The Lannisters send their regards", the last words Robb Stark hears from Roose Bolton on HBO's "Game of Thrones".
- Production Designer Jerry Wanek reports that the submarine set was built on the Supernatural sound stage and was 100 feet long and took 80 people two weeks to construct. The design was based on USS Cobia submarine, a National Historic Landmark at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and the USS Bowfin in Hawaii.
- The song in the beginning is "Je ne regrette rien" by Edith Piaf. However, it wasn't published until 1960, 15 years after the ending of the Second World War.
- With the exception of Sam's hallucination, Lucifer has never made an attempt on Sam's life before. His change of heart may be the result of Sam saying "no" to possession.
- A promo that featured scenes from this episode showed Sam pointing a gun at Lucifer after questioning him about the spell. This scene was omitted from the episode for reasons unknown. It is also not on the DVD boxed set with the other deleted scenes.
- Sam states that the report he is reading talks about Clifford Henshaw arranging for the USS Bluefin to transport Delphine and the Hand of God back to the US. However, it is clearly Henshaw's initial communication with Delphine giving her her mission. There is nothing visible on the page about the Bluefin or requisitioning its usage.
- Dean states that he cleared the warding he found when he first arrived, but Delphine is clearly seen destroying the exact sigil Dean found.
- Lucifer : It's just, I don't need you anymore. I mean, Dean's the one with the link to Amara. Why have I been trying to spare you? Maybe it's because you're like the girl who kept turning me down at the prom. [slams Sam into a pillar] I will touch your soul, just because you asked so nicely. And I'll use your spell to blast through the warding and retrieve Dean and the, um, Hand of God. And then when Dean comes back and he finds this place decorated with your guts, I will tell him the truth, Sam. I'll just say, "Dean- [switches voice] Dean... he knew the risks, but he wouldn't take no for an answer."
- Sam : Lucifer.
- Lucifer : In the flesh.