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It probably comes as no surprise that my favorite character introduction is Death's.  Up to that point, I would have said Castiel's arrival, followed by college Sam peeking around the door.  I've already gushed about Death.  (That just sounds wrong.)  As the fourth horseman arrived, we had no idea what to expect Death would be like.  Going by the appearance of the other horsemen, Death would probably be a person and come in some kind of pale colored car.  SPN delivered, and how.

Two Minutes to Midnight was written by Sera Gamble and directed by Phil Sgriccia.  Death's arrival begins with a look up at metal beams and a gray sky, along with circling leaves.  Leaves are blowing around as an elegant white car pulls up to the curb.



Death is supposed to bring a horrilble storm to wipe out Chicago.  We can hear thunder in the soundtrack just before the music begins.  Rather than use a piece of classic rock or something written by the SPN composers, they had Jen Titus record a version of the traditional folk song, O Death.  The original composer's name has been lost to time.  Most often, when you hear this song, it's done a capella or with fiddles and other traditional stringed instruments.  To match the rest of the SPN soundtrack, they added electric instruments more typical of modern popular music but left the singer's voice as the most prominent feature.  They chose sections of lyrics from the song that most match the plot of the season to that point.

Oh, Death, оh Death, oh Death,
Won't you spare me over til another year

But what is this, that I can't see
with ice cold hands taking hold of me


When God is gone and the Devil takes hold,
who will have mercy on your soul

I like how some of the film is done in slow motion and some footage jumps like it's being fast forwarded.  Within about 1 minute and 16 seconds, they manage to convey that this is Death on his pale horse.



And he has the ring the Winchesters need.



We get a slow reveal of Death's gaunt face.



He's quiet but deadly.  He doesn't tolerate rudeness, has little patience and he doesn't think twice about ending a life.  He also doesn't leave a wake of carnage.  He appears to leave most of the people he crosses paths with to go about business.  That changes when he gets to the restaurant but we don't know that yet.  We learn that a literal brush with Death is fatal.  Dean is going to be lucky to get out of this alive.







Death dresses like a stereotypical undertaker.  We see he's concerned enough about appearances to carry a stylish cane and rides a mighty fine pale horse.  Even the insides of the car doors are dressed up.



Which brings us to Death's car, which I covet.  It's a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.



Cars of the late 50s are known for their chrome trim and large tailfins.  GM was in it's last years with Harley Earl at the design helm.  Earl was the first person hired in the auto industry specifically to work at making a car aesthetically pleasing.  He's responsible for the way that autos are first designed in clay before they become production models.  As head of design, he authorized the first use of tailfins on an auto.  They were based on the look of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane.  In addition to looking good, they were supposed to increase the aerodynamics of the auto.



Earl got into an unofficial competition with a former GM employee, now the design chief at Chrysler, to see who could create the most elaborate tailfins.  The 1959 Cadillac was the winner of that ours-are-bigger grudge match.   They used a dual tail light assembly on the fins and designed them to look like rockets from the Mercury space program.



With Earl retiring shortly after that and the public losing enthusiasm for tailfins, they were gradually sidelined over the next few model years.  By the time GM was designing the most important object in the universe, they were pretty much gone.  It's apparent tailfins never went out of style with Death.

As the film segment ends we hear the final lines of the song.

Oh, Death, oh Death,
My name is Death and the end is near.

As the man who ran into Death collapses on the sidewalk, there is another crash of thunder as his knees hit.


Caps from homeofthenutty and me, except last the full view of Death's car.  That came from the Superwiki.  The P-38 and Cadillac tailfin are from Wikipedia.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
zebra363
Sep. 24th, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
That changes when he gets to the restaurant

I felt really bad about that when I rewatched the scene the other day – was it necessary to kill them all just because he wanted pizza? I hope their cosmic number was up in any case and they weren't just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

By the time GM was designing the most important object in the universe

That gave me a good laugh.

I knew you would do justice to this wonderful scene!
galwithglasses
Sep. 24th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
I hope their number was just up too. I also think they did it because I suppose technically the horsemen were the monsters of their given weeks. They couldn't make him too sympathetic or the scene with Dean wouldn't have had the same underlying fear to it. The rest of the time we've seen him, he hasn't laid waste to anywhere, I don't think. He even goes out of his way to reassure the couple with the fulgurite.

It was totally fun to geek out about the car.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Wallace and Gromit
galwithglasses
Icarus was a test pilot

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