Over the past several months, I have developed an obsession with the television show Supernatural. For those of you who haven’t watched/heard of this show: 1) You need to watch it; and 2) It basically follows two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, as they battle supernatural creatures. Each season has a central storyline (for example, the first season involves the brothers trying to find their missing father and the demon that killed their mother), and throughout all of the seasons, there are several Biblical allusions. Since I have recently started watching the series from the beginning with my dad and boyfriend, I’m going to focus on the allusions that are in the first three seasons.
In the fourth episode of the season, “Phantom Traveler,” the town of Nazareth is mentioned after a plane is crashed in a field near the town after being in the air for 40 minutes. As we know from reading the gospel accounts, Nazareth is the town that Jesus grew up in. While this seems to have no significance, it is interesting that the show deliberately points out this town in an episode that focuses on a demon that causes planes to crash. When Sam and Dean are forced to exorcise the demon while on a plane, it becomes evident that this is a very vague reference to how Jesus rid people of demons in order to save people. While this is seems to be insignificant, if you’re familiar with the fact that Jesus is from Nazareth, and banished demons, it becomes clear from this point how the brothers are to save the innocent people on the plane from a terrible death. Also, throughout reading the Bible, the number 40 seems to have a great significance. In the Bible, the number 40 typical symbolizes a “time of testing, trial and probation” (Bible Study). The fact that the demon finds a way to crash the plane after 40 minutes seems to be significant, as this time period can be seen as the demon testing to see if any of the passengers can find a way to stop it.
In episode 13 of the second season, “Houses of the Holy”, several Bible verses are mentioned, including Luke 2:9, “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” In this episode, people are claiming to be visited by an angel that commands them to kill certain people. The people chosen for death all go to the same church, and each have a horrible secret that goes against what their image portrays. Early in the episode, Sam and Dean question Father Reynolds, who quotes the mentioned verse while discussing different portrayals of angels in the world. While Sam believes that the angels are terrifying to humans, like it’s mentioned in the Bible, Dean is skeptical due to how angels are frequently shown in modern culture. The Father mentions that the angels were actually warriors for God, which helps to promote Sam’s theory that an angel is behind the string of mysterious murders. However, it is actually a spirit who thinks he’s an angel that is behind the events. After re-watching the episode and thinking about why this specific verse is mentioned, it becomes clear that this quote disproves Sam’s idea that an angel is involved early on as the people who are visited by the angel are not terrified.
As I was watching the third season of Supernatural with my dad over the break, one particular line stuck out to me from the first episode, “The Magnificent Seven.” In this episode, Sam and Dean, along with a long time family friend, Bobby Singer, and another hunter couple, Isaac and Tamara, must face the demons that personify what we know as the “Seven Deadly Sins.” When the team is questioning the person possessed by Envy, the demon states, “I am Legion, for we are many,” which is almost a direct quote from Mark 5:9, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” While it is never mentioned that this line is from the Bible, if one is familiar with this verse, it reveals just how extreme the situation is. In the end of the second season, Jake (one of the special “soldiers” chosen by Azazel, the yellow-eyed demon) opened a Gate to Hell and released a multitude of demons into the world. While the number of demons release is not known, from this line it is clear that the world is in deep trouble. The word “legion” means “the principal unit of the Roman army comprising 3000 to 6000 foot soldiers with cavalry” (Merriam-Webster). By using this word, it is clear that not only were there thousands of demons unleashed, but that it was an army that was released. This also hints at the events that are to come to pass later on in the series.
These three examples are just a few of the many Biblical allusions that appear throughout Supernatural. While these allusions may not seem relevant at first, after re-watching the episodes it becomes evident why they were included if one is familiar with the Bible. By understanding the Biblical allusions, the viewer is able to gain deeper insight to the series, and if they catch on before re-watching the episode, it foreshadows the ending of that episode.