Saving Dean from the hell was probably one of the most high-profile task the angels had been set with for possibly thousands of years (probably right up there with Michael banishing Lucifer from heaven). After all, Dean is Michael's true vessel.


Why on Earth were ordinary angels set to rescue Dean? Has it ever been said? This makes no sense to me, because we've seen throughout the series that normal angels like Castiel are quite clumsy, and if you recall, he was even bested by Alistair a few times. Thus, why didn't Michael or Raphael go in there themselves and haul Dean out of hell? Nothing can best them, except God, Death and Eve. I initially thought that maybe it was something to do with not having a vessel, but when Castiel rescued Dean we know he didn't have a vessel yet, as throughout Lazarus Rising he's seen trying to contact Dean without one.

1 Answer 1


The important thing to remember here is that the archangels don't want this to be easy.

Although none of this has been officially confirmed as canon, I suspect that there were three main factors at play.

First off, poor information. It's not entirely clear how the archangels learn about the goings-on of Hell, but it's probably not a very good source; for all their power, the archangels aren't omniscient. It's conceivable that they don't know when exactly Dean breaks the seal, only that Alistair is working on him, so the archangels want the siege to take as long as possible to give Dean as much time as possible.

Secondly, there's an element of psychological warfare against the demons. Remember that the archangels need the forces of Hell to be running around breaking seals. They need Lilith herself to break the last one, and it wouldn't look good for their image if they were running around summoning Samhain and killing Reapers themselves. An archangels descending on Hell and decimating the local demon population would have been a major confidence blow to Hell's Army, and we see from the Crowley/Abaddon thing that demons aren't particularly loyal. The archangels want the demons to believe they have a shot at raising Lucifer, so that the demons will actually go out and try to raise Lucifer.

Finally, and most importantly, there's some psychological manipulation of Dean going on as well. The archangels really need Dean to become Michael's vessel; the whole plan falls apart without it (they don't know about Adam at this point). In order for that to happen, they need for Dean to form a positive opinion on the angels - he needs to accept that they need his help, and that this is the only way.

I believe they do that by introducing an angelic "handler", in the form of Castiel. Cas seems to follow Dean around a lot, and at one point comments that his orders are basically to do whatever Dean says. I suspect that Cas is meant to make Dean sympathetic to the cause (although he obviously doesn't know this), by emphatically and honestly describing all the ways the War is going poorly for Heaven. One way to do that? Mention that getting Dean out of Hell was a major blow to Heaven; Dean feels like he owes them one for springing him, and also feels bad that they suffered such heavy losses on his behalf.

Obviously this plan backfires horrifically for the archangels, but they couldn't have known that.

  • No I disagree. An Archangel could simply walk in, click his fingers and destroy every demon in his path (and not to mention the only way to kill one is to use an Archangel blade). And I'm being serious. Remember how God-Castiel killed thousands of angels. Even the weakest angel would be pretty powerful among weak demons. Its debatable whether Michael would we as powerful as God-Castiel, but I think this means he could easily sweep the floor with thousands- even millions- of demons. Also, remember how Gabriel was able to bend time and create a loop in mystery spot? That just demonstrates their
    – Logan545
    Dec 25, 2014 at 19:44
  • Continuation... immense power
    – Logan545
    Dec 25, 2014 at 19:44
  • Also, we now know God had nothing to do with the siege of hell
    – Logan545
    Dec 25, 2014 at 19:50
  • @Logan545 I can't disagree; the archangels could probably have gotten him out quite easily. You have to remember though that they don't want him out easily; they have to be sure that he's broken the first seal. How the angels obtain information from Hell is never discussed, but it's likely imperfect at best. They need the operation to be big and noisy, to motivate Alistair into convincing Dean to break the seal Dec 26, 2014 at 13:54
  • @Logan545 updated my answer to what I hope better explains my position Jan 5, 2015 at 13:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.