CUPID MAKES AN APPEARANCE — Castiel (Misha Collins) helps Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) hunt down Cupid (guest star Lex Medlin) on Valentine’s Day after townspeople start to kill each other for love. However, after Cupid tells them he’s innocent, they discover Famine (guest star James Otis), one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, has arrived in town.
Mike Rohl directed the episode written by Ben Edlund.
The brothers take on Cupid when the people of a small town start killing each other in the name of love. However, they soon discover that a greater power is responsible.
In a small town, Russell and Alice are finishing their first date. They’ve had a good time, and Russell asks her on another date on Valentine’s Day. They kiss, tentatively at first, then more seriously. Then Alice backs away for a moment. They end up inside, undress and start kissing each other. They become increasingly frenzied and Alice bites him on the neck. She panics for a moment but Russell tells her it’s okay. They start biting each other as the blood sprays across the room.
Dean and Sam arrive to investigate and the roommate says that she found them, almost dead, but Russell was still chewing. She explains that Alice was a nice girl, and was a virgin with a promise ring. However, it was Alice’s first date in months and she was excited.
Sam returns to the motel and tells Dean that there are no signs of ghosts or possessions. Dean has come back from the coroner and explains that both of the victims had full stomachs. Sam tells Dean that he can go out to celebrate Valentine’s Day, his favorite holiday, but Dean doesn’t feel into it. Sam figures something is wrong but Dean insists that everything’s okay and goes back to work.
At an office, Jim is checking his cell phone for his girlfriend Janice and his friend Brad figures that Jim is whipped. Brad tells him to focus on their project. However, Janice comes in and insists he can’t choose work over her. When Brad makes a snide comment, Janice shoots him. They realize that something will always keep them apart, including prison. Jim has an idea to stay together forever, and the two of them shoot themselves.
Sam and Dean go to the hospital to check out the bodies. In the hallway, Sam passes a tall balding man in a suit and senses something unusual behind him. They meet with the coroner, Dr. Corman, who leaves them alone to conduct their investigation. They check over the organs and Sam notices that the victims’ hearts have identical marks. He realizes the mark is an Enochian brand, like the tagging on their ribs. Dean calls Castiel, who immediately teleports in. He confirms that the marks are angelic, and represent a destined union. The marks are placed there by Cupid, which is actually a lower order of angel, a cherub. Castiel figures that it’s gone rogue and they have to kill it before it kills again.
The trio goes to a singles bar and order food. Castiel explains that Cupid will be drawn there by human reproductive urges, but then stares at Dean’s plate of food. When Dean says he’s not hungry, Castiel asks if he can have his sandwich. Castiel notices something and says that Cupid is there. A couple starts kissing and Castiel tells them that Cupid has struck. He tells the brothers to meet him in the back and teleports away. They go out and find Castiel seemingly facing empty air. The angel tells them that he’s tethered the cherub, and mutters an incantation to make it appear. A naked Cupid suddenly appears behind Dean, hugs him, and lifts him into the air. Giggling, he runs to embrace Castiel, and then hugs Sam. Castiel explains that a hug is a cherub’s handshake.
Once Cupid has settled down, he asks what they want and Castiel explains that they’re there to stop him from killing. Cupid breaks into tears and Castiel ends up trying to apologize. Cupid embraces him and says he doesn’t know what happens to his targets after he follows his orders. He invites Castiel to read his mind and confirm that he’s innocent. Castiel does so, and Dean asks whose orders he was follow. Cupid explains that Heaven gave him his orders, and that some relationships have a very high priority. He notes that John and Mary Winchester was one of his special assignments, and Sam and Dean needed to be born. Dean punches him without effect, and the cherub teleports away. Sam wonders what Dean’s problem is, but Dean refuses to discuss it.
At the morgue, Corman calls in Sam and shows him another bizarre death: Lester Finch, who ate himself to death on a Twinkie binge and shoves them down his throat with a toilet brush. Outside, Sam calls Dean and tells him that Finch didn’t bear the mark. Dean has checked the police blotter and confirmed there have been eight suicides and nineteen ODs in the last few days. They realize there’s something more going on than just love. The man in the suit leaves the hospital and Sam notices something about him. He runs after the man into an alleyway, shoves him against the wall, and cuts him with the demon-killing knife. Sam realizes that he’s a demon and cuts him to prove it. The demon manages to break free and runs away, dropping his briefcase, and Sam looks at the demon blood on the knife. He stares at it for a minute and then wipes it off.
Sam takes the briefcase to the motel and they carefully open it. A bright light bursts out. When it fades, Castiel arrives and explains that it contains a human soul. They’re surprised to see that Castiel is eating White Castle hamburgers. The angel explains that his hunger is a clue, and the entire town is suffering from starvation. Specifically, Famine, as in the Horseman. Famine can apply to anything: love, drugs, and food. Castiel admits his vessel Jimmy’s appetite for red meat has been activated by Famine, riding on a black steed.
Demons take Famine, in the form of an elderly man confined to a wheelchair, to a restaurant. Once he enters, everyone begins gorging themselves on food, stealing money, eating drugs, and kissing.
Castiel explains that Famine must devour the souls of his victims. Linch’s soul was in the briefcase. Lucifer has sent his demons to care for Famine until he’s ready to march across the land.
At the restaurant, flies gather on all of the corpses. Famine looks up as Sam’s demon comes in and explains that Sam is at the hospital. The demon managed to grab Sam’s key motel key and demands the soul. When Famine realizes that the demon lost the soul, he pulls the demon essence out and consumes it.
At the motel, the brothers wonder how they can stop Famine. Castiel asks how they stopped War, and Dean explains that they took War’s ring and forced him to flee. Castiel confirms that Famine has a ring, but can’t stop eating. In the bathroom, Sam is trying to get control of himself. He finally tells Dean that he can’t go because Famine has got to him, and he’s hungry for demon blood. Dean asks Castiel to teleport Sam away, but the angel says that it’s too late and the infection will go with him. Sam tells Dean to get the ring after locking him in the motel. Dean obliges and then departs with Castiel.
At the hospital, Dean finds Corman’s assistant Marty. Marty gives them the news: Corman went home and drank himself to death. Castiel confirms that Corman’s soul is still there and Dean figures they can use it as bait. Dean watches the hospital from outside while Castiel continues to eat, giddy with happiness. He wonders where Dean’s hunger is, because everyone else in town has fallen prey to Famine. Dean admits that he gets everything that he wants when he wants it. They spot the demon coming out with the briefcase and trail it.
At the motel, Sam tries to break free without success. Two demons come in and prepare to torture him a bit. As they free him, Sam attacks and stabs one of them, and then drinks her blood. When the other one attacks Sam, he uses his demon-fueled powers to shove him away.
Dean and Castiel follow the demon to the restaurant. The plan is for Castiel to take the knife, teleport in, cut off Famine’s ring, and teleport back out. He teleports away but after a minute, Dean realizes it’s taking too long. He goes inside and finds Castiel eating raw meat. The demons find Dean, capture him, and take him to Famine. Castiel is too busy eating to grab the nearby knife. Famine is happy to be in America, where everyone wants more, all the time. Dean points out that he’s unaffected and Famine notes that there’s a deep, dark nothing inside of Dean that he can’t fill. He knows how broken and defeated that Dean is, knowing that he can’t win. He’s not hungry because he’s already dead.
Sam arrives and Famine tells the demons to leave him alone. He says that he sent Sam a snack and assures him he’ll never die from drinking too much blood. He assures Sam that he’s just as Satan wants him, and invites him to cut the demons’ throats. Sam uses his powers to destroy the demons while Dean grabs the knife. However, once Sam is done, he says he won’t drink their blood. Famine sucks up their black essence and Sam tries to use his powers on the Horseman. Famine assures him that his power won’t work on a Horseman. Sam agrees, but uses his power to rip the demons out of Famine’s body. Castiel snaps out of his spell while Dean stares at his brother in shock.
Later, Dean and Castiel lock up Sam in Bobby’s vault so he can go through withdrawal again. Castiel assures Dean that Sam will be okay once he gets it out of his system. Dean goes outside with a bottle of alcohol, but then looks up to Heaven and says he needs help.
Review by Gaelic
5.14 – My Bloody Valentine – Gaelicspirit review
I think my heart might be dripping just a little bit. It’s going to probably take me the full 6 week hiatus to recover from the last three minutes of this episode.
I sat down to write this with two questions in my mind.
1) What am I starving for?
2) What am I afraid of?
The 2nd one stems from the CW’s catch phrase for Supernatural. I know the answer for that as it relates to our show: I’m afraid they’re going to take away my hero. My heart was pounding so hard as Dean stood out in that dark night and looked to the Heavens that I almost didn’t hear him say, “Please…” He’s fallen apart inside so many times, and he keeps getting back up, but each time it’s just a bit slower and I’m honestly afraid—for the first time since the show started—that The Powers That Be are going to give him too much.
Last week, my friend Terry wondered at the purpose of the episode. She pointed out that we didn’t really find out anything we didn’t already know…and nothing different was accomplished. As an episode, it was fantastic, but it felt more like a bridge-episode than one that moved the story along.
I see now, though, that each episode—even the “filler” MotW ones over the previous couple of weeks—have served a sad purpose: they were the water wearing down the rocks that are our heroes. Slowly rubbing down their will, their resistance, their hope. Working them over until they are too weary and worn to fight back.
I’ll get back to that, though.
As far as the first question is concerned? Hmmm… Can you sleep yourself to death?
You ever have one of those Thursday’s where the fact that you still have to make it through another work day is almost enough to reduce you to tears? Yeah, that was today. So when the previouslies hit, I found myself paying attention where normally I skim (not wanting to be set up too much for the show). The images of Dean in Hell, going slowly crazy, breaking under the pressure, then saying softly with such weariness in his voice, “I’m just… I’m done,” really got to me tonight.
So we start in one of those Sesame Street neighborhoods with the cement steps leading up to an entry door. Cute couple is walking home from a first date all shy smiles and brief glances. A chaste first-date kiss turns slightly more passionate, and then more, and then they’re inside and up against the gal’s fridge and they’re ripping each other’s clothes off. My eyebrows went up.
“I want to spank the crap outta you right now.”
Well, okay then. Kinky for a first date, but—HOLY COW! The gal literally bites the dude’s neck, starts to apologize and he says, it’s okay, bites her back, and people, I kid you not, in minutes these two are quite literally devouring each other. Blood everywhere. And at one point? The gal actually pulls some skin (or something) out from between her teeth.
Gaaahhhhh. I thought the buzz saw at the beginning of The Kids Are Alright was nasty, but this was, hands down, the most GORE I’d seen on TV in some time. Nice way to crank up the squick factor, Kripke! *pauses to quib a bit*
Aaaannnnyyyway, it’s apparently a few days later and Suited Up Sammy is investigating at the apartment, talking to a friend of the gal’s who found the bodies. Poor thing; she’s probably gonna have nightmares for the rest of her life. She says that the gal, Alice, was a nice girl—like promise ring nice. Virgin nice. This was her first date in many months.
Sam heads back to the motel where Equally Suited Up Dean is sitting in front of the laptop, feet up, reading the paper. Sam says that there was no EMF, no sulfur at the apartment, so not their usual deal. Dean stretches a bit and rubs his eyes (and I couldn’t help it, the eye-rubbing got me all smishy inside), then tells Sam about his trip to the coroner’s office where he saw the bodies. Apparently they ate each other until they were “Thanksgiving dinner” full.
D: “Talk about co-dependent.”
Sam sits down, sighs, takes the laptop from Dean and tells him to go on and “unleash the Kraken.” Dean gets up to get another beer, a total question mark on his face. Sam reminds him that, traditionally, Valentine’s Day is his favorite holiday: “unattached, drifter’s Christmas.” Oh, Dean.
But our boy’s not really feeling it. He’s not much up for bars filled with lonely women at the moment, thank you very much.
Sam regards him solemnly, eyes soft and tinged with a tad bit of genuine concern, and says, “It’s when the dog doesn’t eat. That’s when you know something is really wrong.”
Taking a pull on his beer with that eff you very much eyebrow bounce of his, Dean says, “Remarkably patronizing concern. Duly noted.”
Sam continues to fidget, though, his ‘patronizing concern’ turning up a notch as Dean still doesn’t go out on the prowl. Hmmm…
Next we get Brad, Jim, and Janice. Brad, a Project Lead, is trying to get his boy Jim’s attention, but Jim is checking his texts on his cell for the 4 billionth time. Janice shows up, tear-streaked and tragic, telling Jim he can’t choose work over her. Jim approaches her and says that he knows, but life (work, family, sleep) is just going to keep them apart.
Brad tries to brake in but before he can get much more than, “TPS reports…” out, Janice hauls off and shoots him with a Dirty Harry-sized pistol. I totally gasped. I’m pretty sure an exclamation slipped out as well. After that, you pretty much knew what was going to happen with Janice and Jim; moments later we see two muzzle flashes as The Office’s first murder-suicide takes place.
So…I was really unsure what we were dealing with at this point. It’s Valentine’s Day, so…homicidal Cupid? I went along for the ride as the brothers showed up to Investigate at the morgue (you know they’re in Investigation Mode because of the suits, see). A bald guy—who totally reminded me of the Ultra-Creepy Dude from Fringe that I don’t know the name of or reason for—walks past them and Sam practically sprains his neck staring at him. In the background you can faintly hear the echo of a heartbeat.
Dean notices his brother’s distraction and asks him if he’s okay, to which, of course, Sam replies he is. Okay, total aside—what the hell is up with Sam’s hair?? Shaggy is one thing. I actually even miss the bangs because they gave him a smishable vulnerability. But he’s starting to remind me of an ‘80’s sitcom actor. It just… I don’t know… it’s distracting.
The coroner greets Dean as Agent Marley and Dean introduces Sam as Special Agent Cliff. How much fun to the writers have, I wonder, deciding on the alias’? Hee. Oh, another aside: can someone tell me why that coroner looks so familiar to me?? I know I’ve seen him before. Maybe even as a coroner? It’s killing me. A cookie to the first person who answers.
So, with some parting coroner humor (“Refrigerate after opening…”) he leaves the boys to their investigating. They start to go through the Tupperware containers of organs (uck, what a nasty smell that must have been). Dean, hilariously, slides a bloody heart towards Sam and says, “Be my Valentine?” HA!! Love it. Sam tosses him a classic Bitchface which Dean answers with that half-hearted “heh”-ish smile.
Sam sees some Enochian (sp?) symbols on the hearts, and Dean helpfully fills in for those of us that might not have been keeping up that it’s the same symbols Cas carved into their ribs. He pulls out his cell to call Cas and before he can finish rattling off their location, Cas is standing in the morgue, two breaths in front of Dean, his cell still at his ear.
C: “I’m here now.”
D: “I get that.”
C: “I’m going to hang up now.”
Okay, overall, this episode was totally intense, somewhat disgusting, and rather heart-wrenching, and that brief moment of humor was definitely needed. I adore that Cas is trying so hard to make the limitations of his vessel and the situation he’s forced to survive in work for the mission at hand. Learning to use a cell phone is probably the sweetest (albeit most practical) thing he’s done for their, um, relationship.
So, anyway, he tells the boys that the Enochian symbols mark these two as mates, and comes to the conclusion that this is the work of Cupid. Or rather the angel that human myth has turned into Cupid. Cherub, third class.
D: “You mean the little flying fat kid in diapers?”
C: “They’re not incontinent.”
Castiel says that Cupid has gone rogue and they have to stop him before he kills again. With twin looks of are you kidding me with this, the brothers nod.
D: “’Course we do.”
They’re lives are weird, man.
They head to a bar that Cas determines to be a perfect hunting ground for Cupid. It’s totally decked out in hearts and flowers and V-day stuff. A pretty waitress brings food: burger for Dean, salad for Sam. Dean starts to prepare his burger, but then pushes his plate away. With Cas looking on hungrily, Sam says, incredulous, “Wait a minute, you’re not hungry?”
Dean’s all, what’s the big deal? And Cas takes Dean’s burger, but before he can take a bite, he ‘senses’ Cupid, telling the boys to meet him out back. They look around, slightly surprised to suddenly find themselves sans angel.
They meet Cas out back and he’s got his hand up mumbling some angel mojo, ordering Cupid to manifest himself. Next thing you know, a large, naked man is hugging Dean from behind, lifting him off the floor. He drops Dean and hurries to Cas to hug him tightly while Dean quibs in the background. Done with Cas, Cupid turns to Sam who tries to turn tail and run, but the angel does that flash thing and is in front of Sam, hugging the bejeezus out of him.
Dean cracked me up. “Is this a fight? Are we in a fight?” He’s absolutely skeeved out from having been hugged—check that, touched—by the large, naked angel. Cas tells him that’s the Cupid’s handshake. “I don’t like it,” Dean says hurriedly.
Cas confronts Cupid about what they “know” he’s up to, and Dean tries valiantly to look anywhere but at, um, little Cupid, then flat-out gives up and is full-on staring at the thing. I was dying laughing. Cupid is devastated to find out that his love matches in this town have killed each other. He starts to cry and the boys practically push Cas toward him to comfort him.
“I love love, and if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right,” Cupid wails.
Cas says in his ultra-deep BatmanAngel voice, “I don’t know what you are saying.” HA!
Cupid implores Cas to read his mind, which Cas does, saying he isn’t lying: the cherub had nothing to do with the murders. We get a slight diatribe about how John and Mary were a match made in Heaven—they actually hated each other (which I found really interesting) until the angels were done with them and then voila. Why? Well, because Dean and Sam had to be born, you see. Just like Michael said. Bloodlines and destiny and all that.
The whole John and Mary initially hating each other had me wondering how those two met in the first place…and if that mattered, or if it was just thrown in there to distract us, like the whole Cupid Red Herring. Ultimately, all Cupid really did was piss Dean off enough to earn a punch in the face—which hurt Dean more than it hurt Cupid.
I’d kinda missed Dean’s hissed “Son of a bitch.” *love!* Cupid boffs out of there and Sam confronts his brother.
S: “Dean, are we going to talk about what’s been up with you lately or not?”
D: “Or not.”
Sam’s concern is heavy on his face as we meld into the next scene. A formerly 400lb man, who’d had gastric bypass surgery, ate himself to death with Twinkies—to the point where he crammed them down his gullet with a toilet brush, distending his stomach until it looked like something out of Aliens. Uck. After finishing his report, the Familiar Looking Coroner takes a drink from his flask and Sam frowns at him, worriedly. Sam looks worried a lot in this episode. With good reason.
As Sam’s leaving the morgue, he’s on the phone with Dean who is telling him that he’s learned there’ve been 8 suicides and 19 ODs in the last few days, so something hinky is definitely going on. As he hangs up, Sam’s brow folds in pain and he sees the bald guy again leaving the morgue with a black suitcase. That heartbeat is a lot louder this time.
Sam lies in wait and jumps the bald guy with the Demon Killing Knife, slicing him a couple of times. Sam says he could smell the demon, who calls him by name and starts to fight back, dropping his briefcase. The demon gets away and Sam, shaking, has to force himself to wipe the blood from the knife. This just made me sad. He’s gone all this time with this ticking time bomb buried inside of him and has maintained control, but now he’s fallen victim to whatever is infecting the town and all that hard work…
Back at the motel, Dean notices that his brother is still a bit shaky. Sam says he’ll be okay, but Dean’s worried. They decide to crack open the briefcase because “what’s the worst that could happen?” Seriously?? Oh, boys… They open it and are nearly blinded by a brilliant white light, which, as it turns out, is a human soul. Or so Cas reveals when he boffs in holding a bag o’burgers.
C: “It’s all starting to make sense.”
S: “How does that make sense?”
D: “And when did you start eating?”
So here we get to the real problem: Famine. Only Famine, the Horseman, isn’t about bringing about starvation, as I’d naively thought. I’d always pictured dried up rivers, the Dust Bowl, emaciated people, y’know…famine. But no, it’s trickier than that. Everyone is hungry for something: sex, drugs, food. And it’s that hunger that Famine amps up until you die and he…eats your soul. Because that’s what he’s hungry for.
Jimmy, Cas’ vessel, is apparently hungry for red meat. Because Cas can’t get enough of it, man. So, with Cas’ voice recounting scripture from Revelation about Famine, we see what is possibly the most disgusting three minutes on TV.
“And then will come Famine on a black steed into the land of plenty…”
Big ol’ black SUVs roll up and the Demon Secret Service pull out Mr. Potter (y’know, from It’s A Wonderful Life) only worse. He’s in a wheelchair and on oxygen and just…uck.
“…and great will be the horseman’s hunger for he is hunger…”
They go into an All You Can Eat Diner and the people immediately go ape sh*t over the food—shoving it into their mouths as fast as they can. One guy even—gah, I almost can’t write it—shoves his hand into a deep-fryer and pulls out a handful of French fries.
“…His hunger will seep out and poison the air…”
All the diner peeps are dead, and seriously, GACK. Famine has apparently sucked their souls, but is still hungry. The bald dude shows up and says that Sam Winchester is here and shows Famine a hotel key (which…come to think of it…shouldn’t Sam have realized he lost that??) but has to admit that he lost the briefcase with the human soul in it, so Famine decides to take his. He sucks out the demons…essence? Soul? Whatever and when he’s done he practically smacks his lips with a whispered, “Delicious.”
Back at the motel, Sam is starting to heat up. He’s wiping down his face in the bathroom while Dean and Cas are talking. He’s jonesin’ bad and getting anxious about the whole situation.
S: “So this whole town is going to eat, drink, and screw itself to death?”
Aside—not to long ago? That would have been Dean’s line. Kinda surprised me to hear it from Sam. Though, in retrospect, I don’t know why. Cas, with a mouth full of hamburger, says mildly, “We should stop it.” Gee, ya think?
They conclude that they need to cut the class ring from Famine’s finger just like they did with War (which, Dean still has War’s ring…wonder if THAT will be significant?? I’ve started to get obsessive about looking for things I might need to remember later…). Dean’s like, saddle up, but Sam stops him, reveals that he’s infected and is…hungry. For demon blood.
Dean’s like, you’ve gotta be kidding me, but his frustration is not with Sam. It’s more of a, “how much more are we supposed to take?” reaction. He immediately tells Cas to beam Sam somewhere far away, but Cas says the hunger will only follow him, and the only way to end it is to end Famine as they did with War.
So, Cas, because of Jimmy, is hungry for red meat. Sam is hungry for blood. But Dean? Yeah… at this point I was worried what was going to hit him and when.
Sam tells Dean to go “cut that bastard’s finger off.”
But first? He has to lock Sam down, but good. Sam is practically shaking from trying to hold himself in check, and as Dean cuffs him to the sink his expression is tight with resignation, regret, fear, and determination. Sam asks him to hurry and this flinch hits Dean’s jaw line. It’s almost vocal. He doesn’t want to leave his brother, but the only way to save him is to go.
He give Sam a determined parting glance as he leaves the bathroom and Cas shoves a bureau in front of the door. I instantly got a Very Bad Feeling About This. Cas and Dean go to the morgue only to find out that the Familiar Looking Coroner had drank himself to death that night. Dean looks really sad as they inspect the body with the back-up coroner (Marty). He goes from sad to incredulous as Cas blurts out that the man drank himself to death because of Famine.
Dean asks Marty to excuse them and Cas says that the Familiar Looking Coroner still has his soul, so…it’s stakeout time. Dean’s alone in the car at first and then Cas boffs in with another bag o’burgers. He’s in the low 100’s at this point. UCK. I like a good steak as much as the next Midwest gal, but man, that much beef? *shudder*
Cas, though… hee. “These make me happy.” Then he decides to satiate my curiosity and wants to know what Dean’s hunger is.
Dean’s answer is simple. When he wants a drink, he drinks. Same with food, sex, or a fight… He’s not well-adjusted (by any means), he’s just “well fed.” Huh. Isn’t that interesting? His life choices, which if he were real and a friend of ours we’d probably worry vocally about, are actually working in his favor in this situation.
Before we can dive too deeply into that, though, a minion is seen carrying a briefcase, and they follow.
Meanwhile, back at the motel, Sam is getting worse and is trying to get free when he hears a noise out in the main room. My stomach dropped…the demons knew where he was. AH! Two show up and I had duel fears: they would get him, Lucifer’s vessel, and he would kill them and drink demon blood. For a moment, I couldn’t decide which would be worse.
Turns out I didn’t have long to worry because the moment they got him free of the cuffs, he turned his rage loose and tore into them, stabbing one and drinking her blood. When the other came at him, Sam turned, mouth gory with blood, and rasped, “Wait your turn.”
Dean and Cas pull up to the All You Can Eat Diner and Dean sees the demons outside. He has to drag Cas’ attention from his empty cheeseburger wrapper to go over the plan again, which Cas monotones consists of him going in with the Demon Killing Knife and cutting off Famine’s finger. Uhhhh… yeah, guys, how is that gonna—but it’s too late to wonder because Cas is gone.
Moments later—it seemed like moments, but it could have actually been a little while—Dean decides it’s been too long and goes in after his friend. Ya’ll, I’ve officially denounced McDonalds after this episode. I already wasn’t a big fan, but Mo Chuisle digs their chicken nuggets, so sometimes, it’s just easier. But now…no thanks. Uh-uh. *shakes head vehemently*
Dean walks in the back way with a sawed-off shotgun and grimaces as he sees the body (or half of the body) of a person head-first in the deep fryer, the hot fat still sizzling around it. Gack. He next catches sight of Cas, on the floor, hunched over a large container of raw hamburger, going to town.
Seriously, how did Misha put that in his mouth? I wonder what they actually used, because…the very idea of being that hungry for something…
Two Secret Service Demons jump Dean and he tries to fight them off, but the horror of seeing Cas that way…coupled with the back-of-his-mind worry about Sam…they bested him pretty quickly and slammed him face-first against the wall. OUCH! They drag him into the room with Famine.
His face his bleeding and his lips look bruised. He’s being held up by two Secret Service Demons and it honestly looks for a bit there that if they released him, he’d crumple to the ground. He’s wavering and blinking, trying desperately to focus on the old man in front of him and look tough at the same time, but failing. The pain is clear on his face.
Cas is noshing on the raw meat with the Demon Killing Knife next to him in plain sight and Famine is busy monologing about Americans being a “swarm of locusts in stretch pants” and it’s really all Dean can do in the moment to stay conscious. Then Famine says that hunger doesn’t just come from the body, it comes from the soul, and Dean manages to spit out that he’s not affected.
As Famine rolls closer, Dean looks like he’s two blinks from fading, his eyes have that stretched-tight look to them, his mouth is parted and he’s visibly trembling. Famine wants to know how Dean can even walk in his presence.
D: “I like to think it’s because of my strength of character.”
But then Famine touches Dean’s belly and Dean grimaces and his face folds up in pain and he cries out.
Famine: “That’s one deep nothing you’ve got there, Dean. You can’t fill it with food or sex.”
Dean gasps that Famine is full of crap, but I was suddenly reminded of last season and Dean’s heart-wrenching, tearful confession about being on that rack, and that he’s not all there…he didn’t come back whole. When he broke, he broke hard and even though he was rescued by an angel, they didn’t get everything. The hole that Famine felt inside of Dean, I believe, is very real and it’s been slowly flaking away, like the brunt edges of paper, as he’s worked to resist and fight and believe and hope.
The human soul is resilient; we can fight innumerable amount of evils and take an obscene amount of pressure. But, like the shell of an egg, if you crack it just right, it will shatter, and the pieces can be so many and so small, that all the King’s Horses, and all the King’s Men can’t put it back together again.
There’s going to need to be a power greater than an angel necessary to heal Dean.
Famine keeps talking as Dean visibly folds in on himself—even though nothing shifts but the look in his eyes. Famine speaks on both his exhale and his inhale so that his words are breathy and hideous and you don’t want to listen but you can’t help but hear him.
“I can see how broken you are…you can’t win and you know it… you just keep fighting… keep going through the motions… you’re not hungry, Dean, because inside you’re already dead…”
Dean wavers as he listens, knowing it’s true but instinctively denying it at the same time. For a moment he looks like he might pass out and then he straightens, his eyes wet as defeat peaks around the corner. Suddenly, when I thought my heart would literally break watching him, we hear Sam’s voice, deep and solid and strong and terrible.
“Let him go.”
Sam’s mouth is covered in drying blood and he looks furious. Dean’s eyes go round with surprise and hope when he hears Sam’s voice, but then he sees his brother and the expression on his face slices immediately to devastation as he rasps, “Sammy, no!”
It’s the ‘Sammy’ that does me in. Through the whole end fight, I had a lump in my throat. The demons advance on Sam and Sam shifts immediately into this fighter’s stance. It’s actually very cool.
Famine stops them, though, and tells Sam that he’s different (duh…tell us something we don’t know, old man). He tells Sam that he’ll never die from drinking too much, just as Satan (he actually says ‘Satan’ and not ‘Lucifer’ which I found interesting) wanted it. He offers his Secret Service Demons to Sam, telling him to cut their throats. Dean, his voice broken and horrified, repeats himself with another, “Sammy, NO!”
And Sam takes a breath, then uses the Force to pull the souls (essence?) from the demons. The two holding Dean release him and Dean immediately dives for the Demon Killing Knife, but then just…stands there, staring with something like horror mingled with sadness and not a little bit of fear as Sam works his mojo. When the demons are all on the floor, Sam whispers to Famine, “No.”
Famine’s like, fine, if you don’t want them, I’ll take them, and sucks the souls up from…wherever. I didn’t really get how he could do that—I thought when they were exorcised they went back to Hell, but whatever. Sam tries the Force on Famine, but Famine’s all, your powers don’t work on me, Jedi, for I am a Horseman!
Dean watches, shell-shocked, as Sam replies that Famine is right, but it will work on them, and pulls the souls out of Famine’s body. It takes a lot out of Sam to do this. His nose bleeds, his face twists in pain and effort and he’s trembling and panting by the time he’s done.
Cas finally stops eating and looks up. Dean, round-eyed and worried, looks at Sam. Sam averts his eyes. No one cuts off a ring (that we see) and they don’t show Famine again, so I guess that last bit of mojo took him out? Not really clear on that, but since Cas was back to normal, I figured that’s what we were supposed to surmise.
And then, the scene that just about killed me dead.
Dean and Cas are standing outside what was possibly Bobby’s panic room—I couldn’t be sure. It was a big, heavy, vault-like door, and later Dean walks out into what looks like a junkyard, so I’m just going to go with Panic Room. Inside the room, you can hear Sam begging for help, calling for Dean, for Cas, crying out in pain.
Dean, face still cut from his struggle with the demons, is in profile, sipping a bottle of whiskey. Cas is near the vault door, his low voice calmly repeating to Dean that what he’s hearing really isn’t Sam…not really. Sam will be okay, he just needs to get this out of his system. He tries to tell Dean not to blame himself, but Dean stops him; he can’t listen anymore.
It was hard enough the first time, listening to Sam suffer that way, even if it was for his own good. They’d come so far, beaten so much, bounced off each other, gone away from each other, come back together again. They have fought and fought and come out alive each time, brothers. And to see Sam like that again, back to how he was that led them to this place, had to have added yet another fissure to the already cracked surface of Dean’s soul.
Then add listening to Sam’s pain—and being powerless to stop it…not only that, be the one to cause it—and Dean tipped over an edge. He tells Cas he needs some air and wanders out into the night, to his Impala. He starts to lift the bottle again, but lacks the strength for even that.
My mouth was dry, my eyes were burning, and my heart was beating so effing hard I think I burned some calories. I was silently chanting please don’t say yes please don’t say yes please don’t say yes… It took me until that moment to realize that all my speculating and what ifing and maybe this would work and I could deal with this was all crap. I don’t want him to say ‘yes’… not this way. Not when he has nothing left. Not when he feels broken and empty and dead inside.
If he’s going to do it, I want it to be with power—a command. I want it to be with the full understanding of what he’s doing and what’s happening. I want it to be a sacrifice worthy of the character that is my hero. Not when life has squeezed the light from his eyes.
He looks up, eyes luminous with tears, and says, “Please… I need some help…” His voice is tight with tears and need and I got nothin’ left. “I can’t… please…”
And then it goes dark.
Good freakin’ Lord. I’m wrung out. Spent. I need to go have a good cry.
This guy, ya’ll, this character has me by the throat and refuses to let go. What a way to leave us for 6 weeks… a plea to a God that every Heavenly being has said is gone. A plea to a power for a hand to hold him up. And all I can hope is that the right Being hears him. That Michael doesn’t take advantage. That Dean finds some way to fill up that hollow inside.
I hope that Sam heard some of what Famine said to Dean—so that Dean doesn’t have to repeat it to his brother once Sam’s done detoxing. I hope Sam registers that part of his brother is still in Hell. Has been in Hell since he was two seconds too late to save Sam’s life. I know Sam has a crapload of weight on his own massive shoulders, but he was at least able to hunger. He was whole enough to have a need. Dean needs to find a balm, a solace, a way to be whole again.
Before I head off to bed and a cathartic cry, I just have to say, previews? Duuuuude. And I wonder how hard it was for Jim Beaver to play Bobby in some of the quickie scenes they showed us.
Until March 25th, slainte, and good health.
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Episode Screen Caps:
No music in this episode.
Dean: Where am I going?
Sam: Dean, it’s Valentine Day. Your favorite holiday, remember? I mean, what do you always call it–uh, Unattached Drifter Christmas?
Castiel: Yeah, they’re all over the world. There are dozens of them.
Dean: You mean the little flying fat kids in diapers?
Castiel: They’re not incontinent.
Cupid: Love is more than a word to me, you know? I love love, I love it! And if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right!
Castiel: Yes, yes. of course. I, uh… I have no idea what you’re saying.
Sam: Dean, enough!
Sam: You just punched a Cupid!
Dean: I punched a dick!
Dean: Hey, when I want to drink, I drink. When I want sex, I go get it. Same goes for a sandwich or a fight.
Castiel: So… you’re saying you’re just well-adjusted?
Dean: God, no. I’m just well-fed.
Dean (to Sam): Be my Valentine?
Dean: Is this a fight? Are we in a fight?
Castiel: This is… their handshake.
Dean: I don’t like it.
Castiel: No one likes it.
The restaurant “Biggerson’s” is the one the boys won a year’s worth of food for in 3.03 Bad Day at Black Rock.
Dean’s phone is the Nokia n78.
Referencing the 1981 Canadian slasher flick of the same name, where what appears to be a deranged miner dons protective (and identity-covering) clothing and goes on a killing spree. In 2009 Jensen starred in a 3-D remake: My Bloody Valentine 3D. Dean offering the heart in a box was a trademark of the film, where the killer left a human heart in the box of chocolate. It could also be a reference to the Irish rock band of the same name.
Sam: Unleash the Kraken. See you tomorrow morning.
Referencing the 1981 fantasy movie Clash of the Titans, telling the story of the Greek mythological hero, Perseus. When Acrisius of Argos defies Zeus, the King of the Gods has Poseidon unleash an ancient sea monster, the Kraken, with the line, “Unleash the Kraken!” The film was remade in 2010 and released a few months after this episode premiered: commercials featuring the line “Unleash the Kraken!” were prominently featured beforehand.
Dean: Why does Heaven care if Harry meets Sally?
Referencing the 1989 movie comedy starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as the title characters. Harry and Sally start as friends, and their relationship is chronicled over the years as they go from friends to lovers and back again.
Dean: What are you, the Hamburglar?
Referencing one of the inhabitants of MacDonaldland, a thief dressed in stereotypical garb. As per his name, he goes around stealing hamburgers from the other residents of MacDonaldland. He and many other MacDonaldland characters such as Grimace and Mayor McCheese were phased out of McDonald’s advertisements over the years.
The human soul in the briefcase is a reference to the urban legend of the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction where the mysterious shining object in the briefcase is said to be the soul of Marsellus Wallace.
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