|“||Disease gets a bad rep, don't you think? For being filthy, chaotic. Uh, but, really, that just describes people who get sick. Disease itself... very... pure. Single-minded. Bacteria have one purpose: divide and conquer. That's why, in the end... it always wins.||”|
Pestilence, also known as the Green Horseman, is a powerful entity and is also one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, along with his brothers Famine, War, and Death. He manifests physically on Earth by taking on human form.
At a small drug store, a large fly lands on the clerk's desk as the clerk reads about a viral epidemic that has been going around the area, but before he can swat it, Pestilence enters the store, hacking and coughing up gobs of a disgusting mucus and spreading it all over everything in his reach as he looks for some flu medicine. When he takes it to the counter, he sneezes more of his mucus into the clerk's face, likely infecting him with the latest virus he has been spreading in the area. When Pestilence leaves the store, he gets in his sickly green beaten-up Pinto, tosses the medicine aside and smiles to himself as a swarm of flies fill his car all around him, revealing that his "illness" is merely a ruse so he can spread his diseases and infect as many people as he can.
Like his brothers, he has been busy spreading his influence across the land, and according to the paper the clerk is reading, he has already spread several contagious diseases in the area. When in the disguise of an ill traveler, he tells the clerk he still has "a lot of driving to do", implying he has many more tricks up his sleeve.
Since the previous episode, the brothers have been chasing after him, always one step behind him. But with help from the demon Crowley, the brothers make a plan to get his rings. The boys learn that he has been causing mass outbreaks of the Swine Flu, something the brothers find strange because Pestilence could do much worse, such as the Croatoan Virus for example. It is revealed over the course of the episode that the Swine Flu outbreak is part of a bigger plan Pestilence is working that will eventually involve the Croatoan Virus. Having infiltrated a major drug company, his servant Brady and a few other demons have begun testing the virus on unsuspecting humans in the labs at night, with the eventual plan being to disperse the virus among regular Swine Flu vaccines to cause a mass outbreak.
Though not seen in the episode, Brady communicates with Pestilence through the use of an identical goblet filled with blood of a human victim, similar to the method used by Meg Masters. While we do not hear his voice, several flies appear from the goblet, and Brady explains that the trials are proceeding as expected, but that they must be careful as to not arouse suspicion. Pestilence seems pleased with the news, but informs Brady that should he fail, he can always find another demon to replace him.
At the beginning of the episode, Pestilence is revealed to be hiding in a retirement home, posing as a "Dr. Green". He is seen examining an elderly patient, infecting her with various diseases and observing the effects they have on her before she dies. When he is alerted by a demon posing as a female nurse that the Winchesters are here, he decides to infect them with various diseases, despite the demon's reminder that Lucifer has ordered them not to be harmed. He greets the Winchesters as they stagger towards his room, suffering from Pestilence's powers and has the demon nurse bring them into the room. He goes on to tell them that he prefers diseases to people, and how he can't understand why God loves something so "messy and weak". As he moves in to finish them off, Castiel arrives and Pestilence is surprised to see him but amused to find that the low-powered angel is now susceptible to his powers. Despite his weakened condition, Castiel manages to cut off his ring finger and kill the demon nurse. As his powers begin to wear off of the trio, he says "It doesn't matter. It's too late," before vanishing.
Sam and Dean later learn that he referred to his and Lucifer's plan to spread the Croatoan virus through shipments of swine flu vaccine. Sam, Castiel and Bobby Singer foil his plan by killing his demons and blowing up the distribution warehouse before the virus can be sent out.
Powers and Abilities
As a Horsemen, Pestilence is very powerful. Like his brothers, he requires his ring to help him focus his powers and manifest a physical form. A testament of his power was his willingness to defy Lucifer's orders.
- Bacterial/pathogenic dominance - With his ring acting as a conduit and a means to focus his abilities in the material world, Pestilence held dominion over sickness itself.
- Biokinesis - Pestilence lashed out a myriad of diseases onto a woman named Celeste simultaneously.
- Immortality - Pestilence is not subjected to age and disease.
- Teleportation - Pestilence can go anywhere he chooses in the universe.
- Cosmic Awareness - As a horseman, Pestilence possesses an incredible amount of knowledge and understanding of the universe and its workings. He can understand concepts such as the Apocalypse and nature of sickness.
- Electromagnetic Interference - As a result of being on camera, his face and ring were masked by static.
- Super stamina - Pestilence requires nothing to keep him going.
- Invisibility - As a Horseman, Pestilence is naturally invisible and can only be seen if he wants others to see him.
- Supernatural Perception - Pestilence could tell Castiel was occupying a body, with a look.
- Telekinesis - Pestilence could move objects with his mind.
- Sonic scream - Pestilence was able to raise his voice at a supernatural level and terrified a demon.
- Ring Removal - Without his ring, he can't manifest a physical form on Earth.
- Physical Objects - Anything serrated or jagged, or for that matter anything that can be implemented into a weapon, that can be used to pierce can inflict pain upon Pestilence's physical form. His physical body can be pierced and penetrated identically to how humans sustain infliction though physical wound cannot kill him.
- Primordial Entities - God and the Darkness can do anything to Pestilence.
- Death's Scythe - It can kill anything including horsemen as seen with Death who is the most powerful of the horsemen.
Pestilence appears as a tall old man with grey hair, disguised as a doctor. When he first appeared, he seemed to be "sick and tired" but afterwards, he was looking like a healthy man.
Like War, Pestilence was shown to be a good actor, able to pass himself off as either a sick man or a kindly doctor. He has a strong relationship with his brothers, and he is willing to defy Lucifer's orders over what Sam and Dean had done to his brothers.
He also has a low view of humans, not caring how many he kills and even doing so casually, much like an experiment, considering them as a Petri dish. He considers disease to be a pure and wonderful thing, whose reputation as loathsome and chaotic is actually because of sick peoples. As a result, he openly admires bacteria and regards being infected with chicken pox as a fascinating experience, as well as looking with interest on Castiel when the latter is agonizing after being infected by his power.
Unlike his brother Famine, Pestilence did have some care for demons: after scaring one of his demonic helpers, he genuinely comforted and apologized to her before continuing his business. Despite this, he can be very hard on them, particularly when they fail to meet his expectations. This was best seen with Brady, as he criticized him for not hurrying on his distribution of disease.
Pestilence also had a habit of hiding his feelings, and appearing calm and even friendly, then revealing his true feelings in explosive outbursts. Pestilence also shows no fear of defying Lucifer. Even when a demon points out they have orders not to harm Sam or Dean, Pestilence shows no consideration and merely states that Lucifer will just have to "glue them back together."
While being an intelligent strategist, Pestilence can be still dominated by his emotions and desire of revenge: he holds a deep grudge towards Sam and Dean Winchester, trying to kill them slowly and painfully, not caring about Lucifer or his own plans, letting his guard down.
- Season 4
- Death Takes A Holiday (mentioned only)
- Season 5
- Pestilence's license plate reads "SIKN TRD", which translates to "sick and tired".
- Pestilence's ring is solid silver with a sickly green gem in the centre.
- Pestilence replaced the biblical Conquest as a Horseman on the show, as is often the case in modern media.
- Pestilence is often accompanied by flies, drawn to his presence, perhaps by his very being. They even appear when he is communicating through blood goblets with demons when he himself is unseen.
- Due to the times and technology, Pestilence travels in a sickly green '72 AMC Hornet with a license plate that spells "sick and tired" which represents his "green horse".
- Pestilence's "green horse" replaced the biblical Conquest's White Horse.
- It seems that Pestilence may know God, since he wants to demonstrate him that he's wrong about humanity, and seems a little jealous that he poured out all his affection to humans.