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In the earlier seasons of Supernatural (1 through 5), it appeared that when a human dies as a result of physical circumstances, their soul leaves their body and a reaper is there to convince them to come with them. If they go with the reaper, fine. If not, they become ghosts. And there are many reapers who collect the souls of dying people all around the world.

However, come to season 6, in the episode "Appointment in Samarra", Death tells Dean to do his job by wearing his ring and the job is to touch people who are supposed to die (as determined by destiny) and what kills people is the touch of Death. As one dies, one's soul leaves the body and the reapers can collect it.

However, this raises the question: if Death is needed for every death, can Death be at multiple places at the same time? Because clearly, the story has multiple reapers to collect souls all around the world. So, one would imagine that they all need Death to be present with them.

There are also other related questions. For example, the soul of the dead person could see Dean when Dean worked as Death. But when Dean died in season 2 (the episode wherein they first introduced Tessa, the reaper), he didn't see Death. Why the discrepancy?

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  • @BCdotWEB Thanks for your edits, I was mistaken about Death--I thought it doesn't refer to a name but rather to an entity and thus I added the definitive article. But, Supernatural Wiki confirms that it should be written without the definitive article. However, I am changing the capitalization of my title to what was before because according to all major title case capitalization rules, it should be "Role" and not "role". – Dvij D.C. Apr 29 '20 at 22:46
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Many people die every second, statistically speaking. If Death needs to touch each one of them, then he can't be staying in one place for very long at all. I don't know that there's any source of proof for the idea that he can be in multiple places at the same time, but logically it would be pretty essential. Either that, or he teleports a lot. Like a lot.

Actually, upon reflection, the fact that Death was able to sit down and talk to Sam & Dean the way he did in earlier seasons sort of proves he can be in multiple places at once, since people were presumably still dying on schedule for the length of that meeting.

Souls could see Death, in theory, but in practice he would have been gone before the soul was out of the body and self-aware enough to notice anything. The reaper stays behind to clean up, as it were. Souls could see Dean because he was, in essence, slacking off by hanging around long enough to be seen.

It's been a while, but IIRC, there were some news stories in the background about the remarkable lack of people dying after Dean took over, too. Supporting the idea that he's not exactly meeting quotas.

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  • Thanks for the clarifying answer! Regarding your last point, as far as I can remember, the news stories were about a town where the assigned reaper was killed/kidnapped by demons for some reason. This should probably be a separate question but I also didn't understand the role of the ring in the case of Death. Other horsemen (and also Dean) required their rings to do their job, but Death could work without his ring somehow, right? Because people were dying even during the time when Death didn't have his ring. – Dvij D.C. May 1 '20 at 20:58

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