4.06 Yellow Fever
|Season 4, Episode 6
|October 23, 2008
| Andrew Dabb
|Sam and Dean have 48 hours to stop a supernatural affliction from killing Dean with fear.
|Rock Ridge, Colorado
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43 Hours Earlier
The boys are examining the body of Frank O'Brien, a healthy 44-year-old marathon runner who died of a heart attack after two days of intense fear and paranoia -- the third such death in town. Sam and Dean insist on an autopsy, but the coroner can find nothing wrong with the body, aside from a number of scratches along Frank's arm.
The eccentric Sheriff Al Britton, a good friend of Frank's, confirms that Frank had been acting strangely, as does Mark Hutchins, Frank's reptile-loving neighbor and the last person to see him alive. Dean seems more than usually unnerved by Mark's menagerie of pets. Mark tells them that Frank had been a bully in high school, but that he "got better," especially after the suicide of his wife Jessie in 1988.
That evening, Dean's strange behavior escalates; he sets off an EMF detector, proving that he's "haunted." A call to Bobby diagnoses ghost sickness, in which a spirit literally infects a person with fear, which intensifies until the victim's heart gives out. Bobby also theorizes that if the ghost that started the infection is destroyed, the sickness should clear up.
In the hotel room, Dean begins to hallucinate, and unexpectedly coughs up a wood chip. Sam realizes that the symptoms are trying to communicate something about the original ghost. They investigate the abandoned Cassity & Sons Lumber Mill, where they find an ID card for Luther Garland, along with a number of drawings of Frank's wife Jessie. When the ghost of a hulking man appears and machinery starts to move on its own, Dean cuts out back to the Impala in terror.
The official police file says that Luther Garland died of "physical trauma." At the Peaceful Pines Assisted Living home, John Garland, Luther's brother, tells a different story. Luther was "the town freak," but Jessie O'Brien was kind to him, and he became infatuated with her. When she vanished, Frank O'Brien came after Luther, chained him to his truck and dragged him up and down the road in front of the mill. No law enforcement mounted an investigation. Sam and Dean realize the victims are experiencing Luther's death in slow motion. The lack of remains -- and the impossibility of a simple salt-and-burn -- set Dean off more, who rants about the insanity of hunting, panics, and flees from the Yorkie, which he mistakes for a hellhound.
Back at the hotel room, Dean's hallucinations grow worse. He sees Sam's eyes turn yellow, and he imagines Sam telling him that he wants to give in to the influence of his powers, while Dean goes back to Hell.
Bobby meets Sam at the wood mill with two hours to go before Dean's heart is set to give out. Bobby reveals that he is fluent in Japanese, and identifies Luther as a buruburu which can be killed with fear. Sam lures Luther out of hiding by destroying his drawings of Jessie O'Brien. He then wraps an iron chain inscribed with a spell word around Luther's neck, while Bobby drags him behind the Impala until he dissipates -- a "terrible" plan that both dislike, but which they feel is their only option.
While Sam and Bobby are trying to catch the ghost, Dean is alone in his room and hears hellhounds. Sheriff Britton breaks down the door, and is crazed and convinced that Dean and Sam will turn him in for his complicity in covering up Luther's murder. His heart gives out before Dean can reason with him.
As Dean reaches for a bible he finds on the floor, Lilith appears to him in the guise of the little girl from 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked. She tells him that he does remember his time in Hell -- four months like 40 years. When Dean asks why he was infected, Lilith tells him that he knows, and that he must listen to his heart. When Luther is dispatched, ending the infection, Lilith disappears, as do the scratches on Dean's arms.
Later Sam asks Dean how bad his hallucinations and fears got by the end. Before Dean can tell the truth, he sees Sam's eyes flash yellow. Dean says he saw howler monkeys, thus not revealing the truth.
- Sam Winchester
- Dean Winchester
- Bobby Singer
- Sheriff Al Britton
- Luther Garland
- John Garland
- Deputy Linus
- "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
- (the song that Dean air drums to while waiting in the car; also featured in the "Supernatural Surprise" at the end of the episode)
Trivia & References
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts
- 4.06 Yellow Fever (transcript)
- Casting Sides for Luther Garland
- Casting Sides for Sheriff Ed Britton later renamed Sheriff Al Britton
- Casting Sides for John Garland
- Episode Promo: 4.06 Yellow Fever
- Behind the scenes photos by the LA Times
- Jensen sings "Eye of the Tiger"
- Supernatural the show to watch by the Chicago Tribune
- 4.6 Yellow Fever: That’s Fear; It Spreads and Spreads by bardicvoice (October 2008); archive link, spn-heavymeta
- Bond, Silvia. 2008. Sam In Charge of Dean: "Yellow Fever" Season 4, Episode 6. Pink Raygun, October 28; archive link
- A Fresh (Queer) Look at 4x06 Yellow Fever by drsilverfish