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Sam follows the man into an alley and waits around the corner with his demon killing ginsu. Why can't this demon smell Sam? Anyway, he gets close enough and Sam jumps him, pushing him into the wall. "I know what you are dammit." He then grazes the demon with a knife, and his cut sparks and his eyes go black. "I can smell you." The demon suddenly recognizes him. "Winchester." You didn't get that before, like when you passed him in the hall? Must be a really stupid demon. Every demon knows who Sam Winchester is. Sam has this small moment of disorientation, probably from the craving for demon blood, so the demon knocks him away. Sam slices him in the arm with a knife and goes on raging crazy eyes on him, so the demon drops his briefcase and runs away when Sam takes another swipe. Oh, this is not a bright demon at all! Probably why he was given this detail. 

Sam doesn't follow, instead taking time to glare at the glistening red blood on the gleaming knife. We can even see his eyes in the blade. I wonder if that's a symbol for something. BTW, this suit is not doing raging Sam any favors fashion wise. He realizes he's not okay with one groan of desperation and finds a nearby cloth to wipe off the blood frantically. Uh oh, Sammy's starting to fall apart! 

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Sam and Dean are back to the motel looking at the briefcase on the desk, speculating what could be in there. Dean wants to know what a demon has to do with this anyway. Sam has no idea. Dean also sees that Sam is a little unhinged and asks if he's okay. Sam claims he'll be alright. Boy, are you so wrong Sam. They realize they have nothing to lose by opening the case and do so. They get blasted with rays of golden light and look away. This is actually a really cool visual effect. 

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The light dies down and they wonder what that is. Castiel suddenly appears, chomping on a burger. It's a human soul. It's starting to make sense. Considering Cas is attacking this burger like he hasn't had a meal in two millennia, I'd say none of this makes sense. Sam happens to say that exact thing. Dean is more worried about Cas eating. Oh, but that's a clue. This town isn't suffering from love gone wrong, it's suffering from hunger. "Starvation to be exact, specifically famine." Sam puts it all together, famine as in the horseman. Dean says that's great in a way that really means he's not up for this crap right now. He does that a lot in this episode. 

Sam thought that famine meant starvation as in food. Castiel says it's that but not just food.  "Everyone seems to be starving for something. Sex, attention, drugs, love…" Judging by the fretful look on Sam's face, he's got something else in mind. Demon blood! So cupid made that cannibal couple crave love, and then famine made them rabid for it. That bastard! Castiel keeps eating and Dean wants to know when do angels start craving White Castle. So no one at White Castle wanted product placement either? That isn't a slider Cas is eating. That would have been way funnier! He could shove a whole one in his mouth each time just like those drunks who hang out at the White Castle at Ohio State at two a.m.   Cas admits that Famine's effect has triggered his vessel Jimmy's craving for red meat. Oh those tricky vessels. I just wonder how many burgers Misha had to eat! 

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This is the Sunday school portion of our episode. Castiel, naturally an expert in scripture and text, not to mention that his scripturizing is every bit as sexy as Sam's latinating, tells us the passage about Famine while we see the creepy old bastard make his entrance. "And then will come Famine. Riding on a black steed." Next thing we see are a couple of awesome black Escalades pulling into a parking lot. Aww man, I was hoping for a muscle car. Ah well, to each his own I guess. "He will ride into the land of plenty." A couple of men get out of the Escalades, one brings up a wheelchair and another pulls a very frail old man out. He's withered and they fit him with an oxygen tube as they put him in the wheelchair. There's a close-up on the ring, letting us know he's a horseman. 

"And great will be the horseman's hunger, for he is hunger." Then we see where they're going. It's a Biggersons! Awesome, continuity from another Ben Edlund episode, "Bad Day at Black Rock." So Biggerson's is the land of plenty huh? I guess that's not too much of a stretch.   "His hunger will seep out and poison the air." Old man rolls into the Biggersons with his entourage and all of a sudden most people begin gorging themselves silly. The waitress cleans out the till and then the "all you can eat" sign is shown. Nice touch! Love that biting wit. Of course Edlund isn't done grossing us out yet as the fry cook dips his hands into the fryer where French fries are still cooking. Yikes! Famine watches with delight as a woman swallows her entire bottle of pills, a man starts chugging drink, two people start having mad passionate sex, and the fry cook is scarfing French fries with his flesh hanging off his hands. Oh, I'll say it again. Edlund, you're a sick bastard. The creepy old man with yellow teeth mutters to himself, "hungry." The actor's name playing Famine is James Otis, and I swear I've never seen him before. Too bad, because in this episode he's brilliant. Creepiest villain ever.   

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Back to Castiel, Sam and Dean. Cas explains that Famine is hungry and he must devour the souls of his victims. Dean figures out twinkie dude's soul was in the briefcase. Lucifer has sent his demons (albeit completely stupid ones) to care for Famine so he'll be ready. Ready for what you ask Sam? "To march across the land." Back at the Biggersons and flies have already swarmed over the rotting bodies. They must come with the horseman too for that's fast. Despite all the dead bodies around, Famine is still weak and famished. In walks stupid demon from earlier, a holding his wound, pretty scared over facing the old man. He starts with the good news. Sam Winchester, the vessel, he's here. Famine wants to know where. At the hospital, but he got away. Oh, but he has Sam's motel room key. Wouldn't Sam have missed that? Ah well, I'll accept it since it leads to some rather good drama. 

Famine is all about going after Sam, but after lunch. Where is it? The demon doesn't understand. "The one that loved cream cakes so much, where is his soul?" The way this old dude says that, like he's been craving that all afternoon, is really chilling. Oops, stupid demon lost it in his fight with Sam. After all, Sam did have the knife. He has way more mojo that that knife pal! Famine shouts out he's hungry like an insolent little boy. My son actually. The demon says he'll get one in ten minutes but oops, too late. Famine puts out his fist and demon falls to the ground while his black smoke gets sucked into Famine's mouth like it was a Hoover. "Delicious," a joyfully fed Famine says. I'm not sure, but I would think that stupid demon doesn't taste as good as twinkie dude. Then again, I have a sweet tooth.

Okay, this is where things REALLY go wrong. Sam is in the bathroom, wetting a towel and shakily looking at his troubled reflection in the mirror as he applies said towel on his neck. Uh oh, he doesn't look too good. An unsuspecting Dean and Castiel carry on their conversation in the other room. "Famine?" Deans asks. Castiel tries to get out a yes but it's a bit muffled since his mouth is full of burger. Sam manages a comment from the bathroom. "So what, this town is going to eat, drink and screw itself to death?" You know, I could think of worse ways to go. 

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Castiel, in a flash of brilliance, thinks they should stop it. Dean agrees that's a great idea, but he's a little lost on the how. Cas wonders how they stopped the last horseman they met. That gets Dean thinking. He said that War got his mojo from this ring. Then he pulls out said ring from his pocket. After they cut it off he just "tucked tail and ran." Yeah, and took that really sweet Mustang with him. I'm still fondly remembering that thing with a big smile. Back to Sam in the bathroom, and he's falling apart fast. Let's just say the cool cloth isn't doing its job. Dean continues his story, saying that once they got War out of there, it's like everyone woke from a dream and started doing their own thing. "You think Famine has a class ring too?" Castiel knows he does. Dean suggests they get down to chopping, but Cas is too busy staring at the bottom of an empty bag. 


# Tlieso 2010-02-20 23:01
Even the recap of this episode made me cry. The ending is just too much. Poor Dean. Wonderful job on the screen caps. Their expressions are just amazing. Especially the one of Sammy with the blissed out bloody smile, so very very creepy.
I had the same reaction to Cas eating the "White Castle" burger. Wrong wrong wrong. It's not like they couldn't have used the publicity. lol
Great job on the recap! It's going to be a painful couple weeks til Hellatus is over.
# Karen 2010-02-20 23:34
Hi Alice
I love the humour you bring to your reviews, it helps lighten those heavy hearted ones.
Although this episode had some light moments, I have to admit this one left me rather depressed.
My heart just breaks for both Sam and Dean. I just wish they could get a break.
I knew this year was going to be quite the emotional roller coaster and would get very dark, but it still kills me to watch them go through all this heartache.

I too, don’t believe for a moment that Dean is dead inside, just severely depressed.
I still think all these D**ks (Lucifer, Zack, Michael etc..) are just trying to beat down Dean’s spirit and Free will. If they can get him to believe that there is no free will and only destiny then he will give up and say Yes to Michael.

As for Sam, whether he is addicted to the blood or the power, it is still an addiction.
I’m worried that it can still be used as a vice to manipulate Sam into saying Yes.
# Crystal 2010-02-21 07:20
That's a good recap!...I agree, it's one of the best episodes this season :-)...keep up the good work to give more great reviews!
# Randal 2010-02-21 08:26
Your recaps are too short. Where are all the little details, the nuance? Aside: I hope you realize that your recap for the season finale is going to be 37 pages. 8-)

Wait, there's a White Castle open that late?

Black comedy is the best and Edlund is the master. Firearms to work? Hey, those things cost money. Far cheaper to drown one's sorrows in booze, no?

I loved this coroner and couldn't help think of his total opposite, the weak-stomach in From Hell. As for Sam's swanky threads, insurance agent blends in so much better than male model. Don't want to attract too much attention. Sorry, ladies. Muah.

Re: stupid demon. I'm probably overthinking, but perhaps Famine's power extends to his minions and can make them extra one-track-mind. Or, more likely, he's just really stupid. There's gotta be *some* demons who passed the SAT, right?

Re: souls. More geek fan nitpicking/curi osity, but the coroner's soul was still there. What's the time frame from death to when it goes flying to the Happy Hunting Grounds or Elysium or Valhalla or the South Pacific?

Re: demon blood. I'm on board with your theory. It's not physical, it's completely psychological. He doesn't need it in the respect that our organs need oxygen carried by the circulatory system. Complete mind/soul gig. And that's the rub: when will SAM get that, climb that hill to where HE is the master of his abilities, known and yet to be discovered.

Re: seeing is believing. Yes! Most notably in 2.13, but other places as well, this is why Dean just didn't get it. Sometimes I get the vibe that fans have expected Dean to know what we know. It's one thing to knock off Samhain, but to incapacitate a freaking Horseman? In the immortal words of little Ben, that's *epic.*

Dead inside would mean ennui, absolute zero. He's not dead, just as lost as a man whose car broke down in the middle of the Gobi desert without a map to tell you that the nearest road is 100 miles that way.
# JulieUk 2010-02-21 09:20
Alice, thank you, what a wonderful recap, it`s like watching all over again, not that I have not already watched so many times that I have lost count, as have so many of us I imagine.
Saw one review for this episode which said it was the sickest hour of tv the reviewer had ever seen and also one of the most wonderful,how right they were. Ben Edlund is a genius-- A very twisted sick genius -- but a genius.
At the end I find myself yelling at the tv Deans own words from Devils Trap, when Meg tries to convince them that John is dead, HE`S NOT DEAD,HE`S NOT, HE CANT BE. No one dead inside could now be in so much pain. I think that the last straw was that he finally saw the full on super vamped up Sammy (Oh Sammy!) let`s face it that would be a bit of a shock for anyone , did it not shake us up a bit.
Was anyone else totally freaked out by Famine? Not since Bloody Mary crawled out of that mirror has any thing given me chills like he did.
Damn these stupid Hiatus things, why on earth cant we just keep going! They break our boys and then just leave them and leave us to fret and suffer for weeks. We need to band together people for mutual support.
# Jasminka 2010-02-21 11:13
Alice, well, as I’m not at work I don’t mind killing time with this awesome recap.

This episode is so full, I can hardly breathe… from all the tears and the thoughts running through my head. It had some fine one-liners (personal fave: ‘He’s not incontinent’) , a lovely MacGuffin in Cupid and the heart-wrenching that followed he encounter with him. I guess the Edlund only needed Cupid to get the heartbreak going, and boy, it happened…

Do we really believe that Sam eats mostly salads? Unless they are spiced up with some Croatoans (forgive me Randal, this was too tempting not to give in…) I can’t imagine how he got that big. You need protein to build up muscle, ah, wait, all that demon blood… When we think of how much Jared need to eat to keep up that form (as he stated in an interview once), we should be allowed an image of a eating Sam – you know, the occasional steak, preferably rare (my favourite, come on)… apart from that, a person who loves to eat can be quite sexy… okay, gutter-time again.

I concur with your thesis that Sam’s hungry for power and that he doesn’t need the blood to work his mojo. We’ve heard it before: ‘You didn’t need the feather to fly’ which one might read: You didn’t need the blood to be powerful.

He said himself in GoodGod,Y’all , I believe, that he missed being powerful. After all, if we look at growing power as an equivalent of growing up and becoming your own person that would be something Sam wanted to feel early on. He left home to pursue his goals; he turned to Ruby to get away from Dean who wouldn’t let him grow up. Having that kind of power he was given by YellowEyes distinguishes him from his brother and the family business, makes him unique, but he never wanted to stand out.

Sam obviously has not understood yet that he is the powerful one, not the blood. Judging from the degree of fear that has been poisoning the Winchester minds for some time now, he might be just too afraid to accept the fact that he, indeed, is way more different than he is (still) ready to accept. That he is more than human. A freak, one of his biggest and earliest fears.

And fear, as we know, is a most powerful weapon. Sam still uses it against himself, shying away from the person he might be. Nelson Mandela once said ‘our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.’ Well, if that doesn’t apply to dear Sammy, I’m an idiot.

Jared played out those scenes with the vigour and emotionality we love him for – and, gosh, he would make such a fantastic vampire in another show or film…

And Dean, my God, of course he is not dead… But, let’s face it: can anyone blame him? After all he’s been through? Anyone would crumble down one way or another. He doesn’t eat as he used to, he drinks way more and his libido is a mess, I don’t need to get all shrinky here, do I? Dean’s spirits have been down for a while now, and he has not yet managed to get them back to his usual cheerful strength. Right now, I believe, his strength is mere discipline, countenance and posture. If he doesn’t find a way to get out of that dark pit he fell into, he will say yes to Michael.

Whatever he does, however much he fights, right now it appears to him that it’s all destiny anyhow. From his point of view, he must feel like he can’t win. He can’t save his brother, again. My heart breaks for him, as it has for both brothers countless times ever since I was watching the show.

One of the best episodes to date. The cruellest one, no doubt. Did I mention before that I hate being confronted with a hiatus once again?

Thank you Alice. These long recaps are to be savoured and relished, which I do.

Love Jas
# Supernarttu 2010-02-21 12:07
Wow Alice. You really outdid yourself in this one. I love it to bits! And all the pretty screencaps didn't hurt either :-)

This is without a doubt one of THE best eppies ever, the best of Ben Edlund for sure. I'm so at awe, he should def. play God if they ever go there. I mean, that title wouldn't be so far off ;-)
# Bevie 2010-02-21 17:45
Hi Alice

This recap was long? I thought it was a little bit too short. LOL! Really, the longer the better along with all those great screen caps.

Poor Dean isn't dead inside. If he was he would be a much happier shell. He has been crushed to the quick, the poor boy. How I yearn to help make him all better. (really missing happy bossy hungry sexy Dean)

Good for Sammy to come clean with his hunger for blood. That's a step up from the sneaking around of last season. And its a good thing that Dean has seen with his own eyes exactly how strong his Sammy really is. Hopefully Sam can realize that he doesn't need the blood to be strong and will accept who he is and then perhaps that strength can be used to help TEAM FREE WILL in their impossible fight.

A terrible place to leave us in a hiatus. Sam screaming in pain and withdrawal and Dean completely broken in his despair. They've gotten so low that surely there is no way to go but up for both of them.
# anene 2010-02-21 23:59
It's funny that you mentioned this Alice "It’s fascinating how watching Sam in the scene really shakes him to the core." Then we have Dean go outside and ask God for help. The only other time we've seen him do this was back in MATEOTB when he wanted help in getting Sam out of Lillith's path. Here, he is lost and doesn't know how deal with the Sam he has just witnessed coupled with his feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Sam was the end of that rope he was holding at bay.

I've always been fascinated by how much the brothers are the only one's who can push each other's hidden and most painful and earth shattering buttons that it defines them. The death of the other, i think is up there and the aftermath. I firmly believe that if the brother's ever contemplate saying yes, it would have something to do with each other. Whether it be negative or positive is what i'll like to know.
# Ardeospina 2010-02-22 22:20
Great recap, Alice, as always!

I really liked this episode a lot. It was gory and funny and terrifying and heartbreaking and just really great. I hope the rest of the season stays at this high level.

I also don't think Dean is really dead inside, but I do think that he believes he is, which is just as bad. Hopefully, he gets some help because he, and Sam, really, can really use a break.