by Robin Vogel
by Robin Vogel
Pestilence, posing as Dr. Green, sits at the bedside of "My favorite patient, Celeste," who he has infected with the common cold, Dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis. Just to be a real prick, he also adds chicken pox, and counts down as his "proprietary blend, mixed in a petrie dish," kills her--but not before she vomits a disgusting electric green mess all over him. "Interesting," he mutters.
Bobby's house, one day earlier - We see a bunch of pages featuring weather omens: tornadoes, storms, wildfires, etc., all bad news. Sam has told Dean his idea about saying yes to Lucifer and jumping into the pit with him so they can assure his imprisonment. Dean thinks it's a stupid idea, and asks Bobby if he knew about this. Learning Bobby DID know, Dean thanks him sarcastically for the heads-up. You can't do this, insists Dean. That's the consensus, agrees Sam. Awesome, then that's it, says Dean, this isn't over. Sam and Bobby exchange glances as Dean goes to answer his cell phone. Cas is calling; he's in a hospital where the doctors thought him brain-dead. After Van Nuys, he suddenly appeared, bloody and unconscious, on a shrimping boat off Delacroix--it upset the sailors. You're just in time, says Dean, they're going after Pestilence, so if he can just zap over here. . . Cas, in obvious agony, says he can't zap anywhere; he's human, has a headache, an itchy bug bite, and needs money for transportation, food, and pain meds. Dean assures him Bobby will wire him the money. "I WILL?" demands Bobby. "I owe you an apology," says Cas, "you are not the burnt, broken shell of a man I believed you to be." Dean uncertainly thanks him for that. "You're welcome," says Cas, and hangs up. Bobby sees the boys off in the Impala. "Be careful," he warns them.
Serenity Valley Convalescent Home - The brothers look at the place--Pestilence's lair-- through binoculars. To him, Dean figures, it's Dollywood in there. They have no idea who's demon, human or Pestilence, laments Sam. Noting there are security cameras, Dean goes to the security guard and says, "I'm looking for my nana, Eunice Kennedy--gray hair, wears diapers." Within seconds, he's decked the guy, and brings in Sam so they can look at all the security screens. Sam finally locates Pestilence, even though Dean keeps falling asleep, and he goes in to see Celeste, which is where we came in. Unfortunately for the brothers, they are spotted by one of Pestilence's demon aides, who reports them to the horseman while he's wiping his glasses of Celeste's vomit. "We should go," urges the demon. Gazing through his glasses, ruminating on what the Winchesters did to "my brothers," Pestilence decides the only thing to do is "take it out of their healthy young asses." She reminds him they are under strict orders not to harm the vessels. "If Satan wants 'em so bad, HE CAN GLUE 'EM BACK TOGETHER!" explodes Pestilence. Gathering himself, he draws her into his arms for a hug (he's still all covered with vomit, ew), and twists his ring. A doctor and nurse in the hallway spew green vomit and die. Dean and Sam enter the same hallway and grow sick, coughing hard, their vision blurry. They step over the dead bodies in the hall. Noting Dean's more sick than he, Sam goes to help prop him up, but they both tumble to one side, Dean falling on the floor as Sam leans against Room 210. The demon aide opens it. "The doctor will see you now," she says. Sam waves his knife ineffectively at her. "Sam! Dean!" says Pestilence effusively. He waves them in. Dean lies unconscious in the hall; Sam drops down unconscious on the floor, inside the door. "Come right in," orders the Horseman.
Pestilence has put together a really nasty disease cocktail for the Winchesters: scarlet fever, meningitis, and syphilis (poor Sam!). They lie on the floor, gazing up miserably at him. "That's no fun," he taunts, grabbing Sam by the hair. Sam stares at him with hatred, blood dripping from a corner of his mouth. Pestilence assures them however bad they feel now, it's going to get much, much worse--and drops Sam's head to the floor with a nasty thump. Pestilence washes his hands with disinfectant, complaining about the bad rap disease gets--filthy, chaotic--but that describes people. Disease is pure, single-minded. Bacteria have one purpose--divide and conquer. Dean reaches for his fallen DKK, but Pestilence steps hard on his fingers, hurting him badly. That's why, in the end, adds Pestilence, it always wins. He kicks away the knife. So, says P, you have to wonder why God pours all his love into something so MESSY and WEAK!!--it's ridiculous--(he puts on his glasses) all I can do is show Him He's wrong, one epidemic at a time. . .on a scale of one to ten, how's your pain? Castiel weaves his way through the door, looking the worse for wear. How did you get here? demands P, taking off his glasses. "I took a bus," gasps Castiel, and to the Winchesters, "don't worry, I. . ." He falls to the floor, blood spilling from his mouth as the same illnesses they have overcome him. P stares at him, gleefully noting, "An occupied vessel, but powerless--fascinating, not a speck of angel in you." Cas suddenly grabs hold of the DKK and cuts off Pestilence's ring finger. BLOOD spurts everywhere. "Maybe just a speck," corrects Cas. The demon aide leaps on top of Cas. He kills her, her eyes and mouth exploding with light. Dean picks up the severed finger with the ring on it. "It doesn't matter, says Pestilence, "it's too late." And he's gone. Ring #3 spins around by itself on the table and falls.
Bobby's house - It's nice to actually score a home run for once, opines Bobby. Noting the dour expressions on Cas, Dean and Sam, Bobby asks why. Sam explains how Pestilence told them it's too late. They're freaked out that he might have left a bomb somewhere, says Dean, "so please tell us you have actual good news." "Chicago's about to be wiped off the map," says Bobby, "storm of the millennium, sets off a daisy chain of natural disasters--three million people are gonna die." Cas doesn't understand Bobby's definition of good news. (Said so deadpan, I couldn't stop laughing.) Death is going to be there, says Bobby, and if we can stop him before he kick-starts this storm. . . Sam asks how Bobby knows all this, and Bobby finally spills that he had help--which is when Crowley appears, pouring a drink. "Don't be so modest," urges the demon, "I barely helped at all--tell them, there's no shame in it." To the horror of everyone, Bobby admits he made a deal with Crowley-- "World's gonna end--seemed stupid to get all precious over one little soul." "You sold your soul?" demands Dean. "More like pawned it--I fully intend to give it back," says Crowley. "Give it back--NOW!" commands Dean. "Did you kiss him?" asks Sam. "Sam!" admonishes Dean. "Just wondering," says Sam. Both brothers look at Bobby, who says NO very defensively--until Crowley shows the picture he snapped with his phone of his and Bobby's after-deal lip-lock. Crowley is staring straight into the camera; Bobby's eyes are closed. "Why did you take a picture?" asks Bobby. "Why did you have to use tongue?" counters Crowley. (I laughed till I cried.) Dean demands the demon return Bobby's soul immediately, but Crowley refuses; it's insurance--the Winchesters kill demons, and Gigantor, aka Sam, has a temper issue about it, but they won't kill him as long as he has Bobby's soul in his deposit box. You SOB! accuses Bobby. Crowley promises to return it after this is all over and they can safely walk away from all this--"DO WE ALL UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER!" They do.
Later, Sam joins Dean outside by the Impala. "Let me guess, we're about to have a talk," says Dean. "Look, Dean," says Sam, "for the record, I agree with you, about me--you think I'm too weak to take on Lucifer?--well, so do I. . .believe me, I know exactly how screwed up I am. . .you, Bobby, Cas, I'm the least of any of you--it's true, it is, but I'm also all we've got. If there was another way. . .but I don't think there is. There's just ME. So I don't know what else to do, except to try to do what's gotta be done." "And. . .scene," says Crowley, drawing his hand down his countenance in a sad face. He shows them a newspaper; Nevius Pharmaceuticals is rushing its swine flu vaccine to stem the tide of the unexpected outbreak. When the brothers don't make the connection right away, Crowley sighs and tells them it's a good thing they've got their looks--Sam's demon lover, Brady, was VP of distribution at that company, and that vaccine contains grade A, farm fresh Croatoan virus. Crowley suggests the brothers stock up on everything, because this time next Thursday, they'll be living in Zombieland.
Chicago, IL - Death, riding a white Cadillac, exits his car to the tune of "Oh, Death." He passes by and brushes against an annoyed man, who tells him to watch where he's going. When the hawk-faced Death brushes off his sleeve, the man falls and dies; others rush to his side in a fruitless attempt to help him.
Bobby packs ammo, notices Castiel behaving oddly and asks him what's wrong. "This is what you call the eleventh hour," says Cas, "and I'm useless." He holds out a gun and says he has no idea what he's supposed to do with it. "Point it and shoot," says Bobby sarcastically. "What I used to be. . ." begins Cas. "Are you really gonna bitch--to ME?" demands Bobby, wheeling closer and tossing him a duffel filled with weaponry-- "Quit pinin' for the varsity years and load the damn truck." Dean, who has been helping them pack, says, "Good luck stopping the whole zombie apocalypse." "Yeah," returns Sam, "good luck killin' Death." "Yeah," agrees Dean ruefully, and everyone gives a good huff over that. "Remember when we used to just hunt Wendigos--how simple things were?" asks Sam. "Not really," answers Dean. Sam hands the DKK over to his brother. "You might need this," he says, "Dean's covered." Crowley returns the DKK to Sam and instead hands Dean a scythe which kills demons, angels, reapers, and, rumor has it, Death himself. Dean and Sam exchange looks. Cas asks, "Where did you get that?" "Hello, King of the Crossroads," Crowley reminds him, "so, shall we? Bobby, are you just going to sit there?" "No, I'm gonna River Dance," says Bobby snarkily. "I suppose, if you want to impress the ladies," says Crowley, adding that Bobby really wasted that Crossroads deal; you get more if you phrase it properly, so, "I took the liberty of adding a little sub-A clause on your behalf--what can I say?--I'm an altruist--are you just gonna sit there?" Bobby moves his feet, then places then on the ground inside the steps of his wheelchair. He pushes, rises, and is standing! Smiling, Sam stares at Dean. "SOB!" says Bobby. "I know, completely worth your soul, I'm a hell of a guy." says Crowley, also grinning. With genuine gratitude in his eyes, Bobby says, softly, "Thanks." Complaining that it's getting maudlin, Crowley suggests they go. Bobby smiles at Dean, who finally cracks a smile, too. Bobby glances down at his feel in joyous disbelief.
Together in the van, Bobby driving, Cas murmurs, almost to himself, "Yes to Lucifer, then jump into the hole--interesting plan." "That's a word for it," agrees Bobby. "Go ahead and tell me it's the worst plan you ever heard," says Sam. I'm happy to say that if that's what you wanna hear, says Cas, but it's not what I think--you and Dean have a habit of exceeding my expectations--you resisted Michael, maybe you could resist Lucifer--but there are things you would need to know--Michael has found another vessel--it's your brother, Adam--you must have considered it. "We were trying not to," says Sam after exchanging an upset glance with Bobby. "Sam, if you say yes to Lucifer, and then fail," says Cas, "this fight will happen, and the collateral . . .it will be immense--there's also the demon blood--to take on Lucifer would be more than you've ever drunk." "But WHY?" asks Sam. "Strengthens the vessel," explains Cas, "keeps it from exploding." "But the guy he's in now. . ." says Sam. "Is drinking gallons," says Cas. "But HOW is that not the worst plan you ever heard?" asks Bobby. Cas just looks at him, and Sam looks away.
Warehouse - Bobby looks through binoculars and notes that they're loading up the Croatoan virus for shipment. The first truck isn't leaving for an hour, so they will get aboard it, plant the C4 every 25 feet, then pull the fire alarm. . ." Cas points out to him that a truck is leaving NOW. "BALLS!" says Bobby--"OK, new plan."
A demon truck driver approaches the gate and reaches out a card to slide through the security panel. Cas punches him unconscious; knocking his head against the truck's horn, then destroys the security panel with his gun butt. Other demons realize, "It's the Winchesters," begin closing doors, and "bake them up a little treat," removing one box of the deadly virus from a crate. Bobby and Sam run over and shoot out a lock on one of the doors, allowing humans safely out before entering themselves, guns ready. One group has already injected victims with the Croatoan virus, their eyes bright red with violence. Bobby and Sam raise their weapons, ready to kill.
Demons and croats rush toward Sam and Bobby, who steadily shoot until all of them are dead. Hearing screams, Bobby is worried it's a trap, but since he's run out of ammo, Sam hands him the DKK and goes alone to check it out. Bobby objects, but Sam doesn't wait. A demon tries to come up behind Bobby, but ends up dead at the business end of the DKK thanks to Bobby's sharp reflexes!
Stormy Chicago - "Let's stop for pizza," suggests Crowley, to Dean's amazement. He heard it was good, that's all. They come to a building the demon calls "ground zero, the horseman's stable, if you will." Death is in there--the block is storming with reapers. We get a creepy Crowley's-eye-view of the reapers just standing there. He leaves Dean's side only to return a moment later, proclaiming, "Boy, is my face red--Death's not in there." Dean orders him to cut the cute and tell him where Death IS. Crowley doesn't know, signs pointed; he's as shocked as Dean. The latter reminds him Bobby sold his soul for this. Relax, says Crowley, all deals are soul back or store credit--they'll catch Death in the next city. Dean won't accept that millions will die in this one! True, says Crowley, so he strongly suggests they get out of here.
Warehouse - A demon is trying to grab a screaming girl off a ladder: Sam shoots him, asks the girl if she's all right, kills another demon, then hustles the girl and another human back toward Bobby, who raises his empty gun, then orders them, "GO!" when he sees it's Sam. Watching Sam expertly cock his gun, Bobby stares at him in awe.
Stormy Chicago - Dean joins Crowley in the Impala and wonders--do they call in a bomb threat, a thousand bomb threats? How do they get 3,000 people out of this town in the next 10 minutes? To Dean's annoyance, Crowley disappears again. He spots him at a pizza joint, mouthing something, but Dean can't understand him. Crowley reappears beside him and calmly says, "I've found him--Death is in there." Rinnasoita (rebirth) Pizzeria is where Dean goes, alone, as Crowley disappears.
Warehouse - Bobby dispatches another demon using the DKK, Sam runs two more humans safely out. "All clear," says Sam, but a croat jumps on top of him, strangling him. Bobby once again tries to shoot him with his empty gun, then Cas shows up and blows the guy's head right off. "Actually," says Cas, examining his sawed-off, "these things CAN be useful." Sam gazes up at him in amazement. "Can we commit our act of domestic terrorism already?" asks Bobby--"Let's go!" Sam works his injured throat a bit.
Chicago - Dean, scythe in hand, enters the pizzeria, where everyone lies dead on the floor or sprawled across red and white checked tablecloths. His hand holding the scythe is trembling with fear, but when it turns too hot to hold, he drops it on the floor with a clatter, staring at the back of the one lone live man there. "Thanks for returning that," says Death. The scythe has disappeared from the floor and is now on the table next to the most feared Horseman. "Join me, Dean," beckons Death, "the pizza's delicious." Scared spitless, Dean sits across from Death, who is cutting his pizza with a knife and fork. Death complains, "It took you long enough to find me, I've been wanting to talk to you." Dean confesses to having mixed feelings about that--"So is this the part where you, ah, kill me?" Death gazes directly into Dean's eyes, his cadaverous face impassive. "You have an inflated sense of your own importance," says the Horseman, "to a thing like me, a thing like you (pause for a noisy sip of soda through a straw) think how you'd feel if a bacterium sat at your table and started to get snarky--this is one little planet, one tiny solar system in a planet barely out of its diapers--I'm old, Dean, very old, so I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you." He puts a slice of pizza on Dean's plate. "Eat," he orders. Dean hesitantly cuts a piece of the pie with a knife and fork and slowly chews it. "Good, isn't it?" asks Death. Dean indicates assent. "I gotta ask, how old are you?" says Dean. "As old as God, maybe older," Death replies, "neither of us can remember anymore." Outside, people hurry past in a blinding rainstorm, thunder and lightning filling the sky. "Life, death, chicken, egg," says Death, "regardless, at the end, I'll reap Him, too." "God?" asks Dean, astonished. "Oh, yes, God will die, too," says Death. Dean uncomfortably contemplates this and says, "This is way above my pay grade." "Just a bit," agrees Death. "So why am I still breathing?" asks Dean--"sitting here with you--what do you want?" "The leash around my neck OFF," answers Death harshly. "Lucifer has me bound to HIM, some unseemly little spell, he has me where he wants, when he wants, that's why I couldn't go to you--I had to wait for you to catch up--he made me his weapon--hurricanes, floods, raising the dead--I'm more powerful than you can process, I'm enslaved to a bratty child having a tantrum." "And you think I can unbind you?" asks Dean in disbelief. "Your ridiculous bravado again, of course you can't," scoffs Death, "but you can help me take the bullets out of his gun." He holds up his hand, displaying his ring. "I understand you want this." "Yeah," agrees Dean. "I would like to give it to you," says Death. "What about Chicago?" asks Dean. "I suppose it could stay--I like the pizza," says Death, slipping off his ring. He offers it to Dean. "There are conditions," he adds, "you have to do whatever it takes to put Lucifer back in his cell." "Of course," agrees Dean. "Whatever it takes," repeats Death significantly. "That's the plan," says Dean. "No plan, not yet," says Death, "your brother--he's the one who can stop Lucifer, the ONLY one--I know--so I need a promise--you're going to let your brother jump into that fiery pit--do I have your word?" "OK, yeah--yes," says Dean tentatively. Death holds the ring over Dean's hand. "That better be YES, Dean," he warns, "you know you can't cheat Death." (Ah, but he HAS, many times!) He drops the ring into Dean's hand, where it makes a weird hissing sound. "Now--would you like the instruction manual?" asks Death. Dean stares at him. Outside, the storm has stopped.
Bobby's - outdoor shed - Dean places the fourth ring down on a table. The other three move to surround and attach to it, forming a four-ring symbol that freaks Dean out. Bobby joins him. "How did it go at the Rockettes' audition?" teases Dean. "High kicks, fair, boobs need work," says Bobby, "I walked up and down stairs all night, for no damn reason." He laughs. I'm sore--feels so good--I'm scared it's a dream--but then I remember the world's dyin' bloody, so. . .drink?" He hands Dean a beer and opens one himself. Dean shows him the neat ring trick, causing Bobby to nearly choke on his beer. "So Death told you how to operate those," says Bobby, reaching down but stopping just short of touching them, "the whole deal?" "Yeah," says Dean, taking the stuck-together group of rings in his hand, "it's nuts--'course I got bigger problems now--what do you think Death does to people who lie to his face?" "Nothin' good," opines Bobby, "what'd you say?" "That I was cool with Sam drivin' the bus on the whole Lucifer plan," replies Dean, taking a gulp of his beer. "So Death thinks Sam oughta say yes, huh?" asks Bobby. "I dunno--yeah," says Dean, "but of COURSE he'd say that, he WORKS for Lucifer." "Against his will," Bobby reminds him. "I say take his sob story with a fat grain of salt," says Dean, "I mean, he IS Death." "Exactly," agrees Bobby, "he's Death--think of the kind of bird's-eye-view." "Seriously?" asks Dean, miffed. "I'm just sayin'," says Bobby. "Well don't," says Dean angrily--"what happened to you bein' against this?" "Look," says Bobby, "I'm not sayin' Sam ain't an assful of character defects, but back at Nevius, I watched that kid pull out one civilian after another--he must have saved 10 people, never stopped or slowed down--we're hard on him, Dean, we've always been, but, in the meantime, he's been runnin' into burnin' buildings since he was, what, 12?" Pretty much," says Dean. "Sam's got a darkness in him," says Bobby, "I'm not sayin' he don't, but he's got a hell of a lot of good in him, too." "I know," says Dean quietly. "Then you know Sam will beat the devil," says Bobby firmly, "or die tryin'. That's the best we can ask for--so I gotta ask, Dean--what exactly are you afraid of?--losin'?--or losin' your brother?" Dean stares at Bobby, swallows, contemplating the most serious question he's ever been asked.
1. I watched this episode five times before writing this. I loved the combination of characters as they discussed whether or not Sam should face Lucifer and say yes. Death told Dean not to interfere; Sam is the only one who can do this. How do you feel about it?
2. How did you feel about Crowley's little gift to Bobby? Did you cry as I did? Do you like/trust Crowley any better now?
3. Do you agree with Sam's little speech to Dean that he's "the least of any of them?" I sure don't. Like Bobby, I agree that there is both bad and good in Sam, with the good outweighing the bad. Question is, what will happen if he says yes to Lucifer and has to get hopped up on a glut of demon blood again? Will Sam totally lose his soul?
4. We lost Pestilence early, but he was such a nasty, wonderful character. He did love his disease, and thought he has the evil Croatoan virus on the way to the public. But he was outsmarted!
5. Death was played to perfection, with Jensen doing a magnificent job sitting across from him. Imagine having pizza and conversation with Horseman death, afraid to eat the food, scared you're going to die, ordered to put your beloved brother in mortal danger, lying to his face that you will. Dean probably pissed himself wouldn't you?
I thought this ep gelled fabulously.
Okay, off to your questions:
@1: As much as I fear for Sammy, I think he is probably their only chance, and frankly I deem the plan brilliant, even though itâ€™s the most stupid idea possible. But such are the ideas I love most. Plus: I think itâ€™s the most courageous thing to even propose that. Sam has always been my personal hero (DeanGirls out there: I donâ€™t mean to diminish Deanâ€™s character by any means, heâ€™s as much a hero, if we wanna stick to that term, as his brother is), I couldnâ€™t love him more. I hope this will bring him the redemption heâ€™s been craving for. I think thatâ€™s a price heâ€™s most willing to pay. Is there a greater love than laying down your life for your friends? And for an entire planet of people who are â€“ for the most part â€“ not exactly nice to each other?
@2: Oh yes, Robin, I cried buckets. Knee deep in Kleenex. We are still to find out whether it was altruism that made Crowley give Bobby his legs back. I still donâ€™t trust Crowley, whether he turns out to be God or just any other demonious traitor. Butâ€¦ Iâ€™m open to be proved wrong.
@3: No, I donâ€™t agree with Samâ€™s assessment of himself. Of course he is not the least of them, but I think he truly does believe it. His self-esteem has suffered greatly. I donâ€™t think Sam will lose his soul. This soul is so good, so wounded and made strong by the fires of his pain â€“ no way. He will emerge like the proverbial phoenix. Thatâ€™s my hope for Sam.
@4: Wonderful Pestilence. My stomach welcomed his early departure, though. The Croatoan virus might be out there in one of the civilians Sam saved â€“ what if one of them was infected? Oh, hello sicknessâ€¦
@5: Bloody brave of Dean (and just as stupid as Samâ€™s idea) to lie to the face of Death. Thereâ€™s an opponent you canâ€™t cheat. In this case, Dean â€“ again â€“ is ready to die to save his brother. Ah, poor Dean. Had I done that I probably wouldnâ€™t be able to sleep anymore.
Perfect episode. Magnificent acting. Cruel storyline. Just the way I love it. Thanks, Robin, Love Jas
Loved Death and his slo-mo entrance, what was that great song playing in the background? Trust Dean to get to share a pizza with the Reaper Man, everyone else gets stuck with chess! That whole scene was making me really hungry ( and terrified, obviously, but mostly hungry ... )
Meant to say I'm with you about Crowley ... I know he's probably bad to the bone and going to stab any backs he's trusted with just as soon as it suits his fiendish plan to do so, but I really like him and have this sneaky little inkling that he's a good egg after all ( Feel free to mock cruelly after next week proves me wrong, I can take it, sniff ... )