|“||I'm waiting to hook up with my siblings. I've got... three. And we're going to have so much fun together!||„|
|~ War to Sam about his brothers|
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are a group of evil beings, who are the personified concepts of forces of destruction. They are supporting antagonists in season five of the TV show Supernatural. They can manifest by mimicking human form, which can be harmed in manners identical to humans. War seemed to have last manifested a long while ago, the other Horsemen (except Death, who had to be freed) trotting behind him. They are respectively known as: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death.
Each use a special ring that channels their core ability, without which, they are unable to take physical forms. Also, they each travel in a car (colored to resemble their steed's color in lore), in having gotten "with the times".
The Horsemen seem to be allied with only each other and their jobs, and do not take the side of Heaven nor Hell. After Lucifer rises from his cage in Hell, he takes command of the Horsemen (seemingly through the use of a binding spell to compel them to comply with his orders) and directs them in enacting his Genocide against humanity. It is revealed, however, that at least some of the Horsemen resent Lucifer's use of them in his fight with God, ultimately revealing that he only has limited control over them. Their rings, unknown to all but a few select individuals, are the keys to Lucifer's Cage in Hell, and thus the Horsemen collectively hold the key to sending him back.
Introduction of the Horsemen
|“||I'm waiting to hook up with my siblings; I've got...three. We're gonna have so much fun together.||„|
|~ The Horseman of War|
Each of the Horsemen (Death,War, Famine, and Pestilence) spontaneously came into existence when death, hunger, confrontation and sickness entered the world. Death must have come into existence the moment that God created the first life form (possibly the Leviathan) because there cannot be life without death. The Leviathans were shown to be hungry, and so Famine followed after Death. War came into being quickly after, as the Leviathans preyed on each other, affected by Famine and had influence when God and the archangels battled and defeated the Darkness. The only known creatures to have shown illness, are humans. This means that Pestilence was created after humanity, making him the youngest Horseman.
They are probably some type of spirit or entity associated with their own attribute, off of Alastair's comment of that they were clamouring for the Apocalypse, and can exist in physical form at anytime they please. They become more active after Lucifer's release and serving Lucifer all through an enchantment, most notably with Death.
War was shown to have influenced the Nazis and Hitler into being power hungry and warlike, and Famine was powerful before the Industrial Revolution, where he was defeated by farming and mass food production. Pestilence was powerful in the Black Death disease, where Ruby sold her soul to become a demon because of the disease. Death exists at all times, he was one of the two original beings existing alongside God.
They were in the process of bringing forth the "Hell" that Castiel talked about in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester". In Death Takes a Holiday Alastair remarks the Horsemen are well aware of Lilith's plans and are "jonesing for the Apocalypse".
They cannot be killed unless somehow their attributes cease to exist. However, they become as vulnerable as humans when in form and separation from their rings leaves them totally powerless (except for teleportation).
The Horsemen have a very slanted view of humanity and see themselves as just bringing out the evil that is already in humans. Both War and Famine have said humans "only need a little push" in order to do horrible things, and both have surprisingly shown a level of disgust and contempt toward how easily corruptible humans are, and what they can do. Pestilence prefers diseases to people, claiming that belief of disease being a bad thing is just because of sick people, and he can never understand why God has such love for humanity.
They seem to just construct a body, although it seems by Brady's comment that their physical bodies remain on the human plane, visible plain as "withered husks" without their rings.
Each Horsemen possesses a ring that allows them to channel and focus their power through their physical form (similar to angels and their grace), and, while it doesn't kill them, separating them from their rings is the only known way to drive them off. In Hammer of the Gods, Gabriel reveals the rings are actually the keys to Lucifer's Cage and if the brothers can collect all of them and trick Lucifer back into the cage, they can be used to reopen and close it.
In Two Minutes to Midnight it is shown that the Horsemen cannot be properly filmed, as when Dean and Sam are watching a camera for Pestilence, they find him because his face and ring are hidden with a static-like distortion.
It also hinted that Lucifer may not have total control of the Horsemen as it is revealed in The Devil You Know that Dean and Sam are instructed to find Death and Pestilence's handlers in order to acquire their rings. Lucifer states in Abandon All Hope... that the Horsemen (Death in this case) are very demanding and require certain rituals and agreements to stay happy and compliant. Their handlers are revealed in The Devil You Know to be more like personal attendants seeing to each Horseman's personal needs and overseeing some of their interests. Brady, for example, has been overseeing Pestilence's Croatoan Virus trials while the Horseman himself has been setting the stage for the virus's release.
The Horsemen also have a very deep loyalty to one another that supersedes any allegiance to Lucifer. For example, Pestilence wanted to kill the brothers in revenge for what they did to War and Famine. When a minion warned him they were under orders not to harm the brothers, Pestilence raised his voice to a demonic level and stated if the Devil wanted them so badly he could glue them back together after he was done with them.
|“||You think I'm a monster. I'm jello shots at a party. I just remove inhibitions.||„|
|~ War, speaking to Sam|
In "Good God, Y'all", War kills a well-known resident named Roger and assumes his form and buries him in a ditch. Using this form, he drives a red sports car (a mustang fastback from the late 60's to earlier 70's model) as his "red horse." He parks his car after destroying the town's only exit and then gets to work on the townspeople by using his ring to generate hallucinations, making the people believe that others around them have been possessed by demons. War hates acting directly because in his opinion the best way to cause chaos is to induce panic and let humans take care of the rest. Realizing that they cannot kill War (as the only way to do so is to eliminate all war in the world), the Winchesters instead cut off his ring finger, breaking the spell he cast over the town and forcing him to depart. In The Devil You Know, Brady reveals that the Winchesters have reduced War and Famine to near catatonic states. War's ring is gold, does not have a stone, and appears to be a wedding ring. Also its the only ring that does not have a stone in it.
|“||Doesn't take much - hardly a push. Oh, America - all-you-can-eat, all the time. Consume, consume. A swarm of locusts in stretch pants. And yet, you're all still starving because hunger doesn't just come from the body, it also comes from the soul.||„|
|~ Famine, speaking to Dean|
In "My Bloody Valentine", Famine is in a decrepit, weak condition due to massive agricultural improvements. Because of this, Famine can barely infect anyone by himself, forcing Lucifer to send lower level-demons to care for him until his powers are fully regenerated. Despite his weakened state, he is still strong enough to resist an assault from a Demon-blood juiced Sam, and explains all the Horsemen are immune to Sam's powers. Like his brother War, he too possesses a ring that allows him to focus and direct his powers. His ring is silver with a black stone.
|“||Disease gets a bad rap, 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.||„|
|~ The Horseman of Pestilence|
In "Hammer of the Gods", we see Pestilence go into a drugstore, buying flu medicine even though he is sickness. He spreads some disgusting mucus over everything. He drives a sickly green/white car with a license plate that spells "sick and tired". He is accompanied by a swarm of flies and has the appearance of a man suffering a heavy cold, though this appears to be a ruse since, after leaving the drugstore, he straightens up and laughs while throwing the medicine away. His ring is gold with a pale green stone.
|“||This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy that’s barely out of its diapers. I’m old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you.||„|
|~ Death to Dean Winchester|
Death, unlike the other Horsemen, doesn't naturally appear to aid in the Apocalypse. He is freed from the confines of a cell in "Abandon All Hope..." with a ritual and his presence is felt at times, but doesn't physically appear until "Two Minutes to Midnight". He arrives in Chicago to destroy it with a titanic storm. After getting out of his white car, he walks down the sidewalk, where a man on his cell phone rudely bumps into him and collapses dead soon thereafter. Crowley later helps Dean track Death to a pizzeria, where Death makes a deal with Dean to give him his ring in exchange for him do all in his power to put Lucifer back into his cell. His ring is silver with a white stone.
Death is the eldest of the Horsemen and is older than most creatures can understand; he explains to Dean that the entire galaxy is still "in its diapers" in comparison to him. In a conversation with Dean he claims to know God, and states that he doesn't remember his age, and it is possible that he could be as old as God. Death's Sickle reacts in the same way as Dean's pendant reacts to God—glowing hot in his presence. Due to his age Death is very detached from the rest of the world and does not really care that much for the Apocalypse and those involved, thinking them to be little more than bacteria. Dean, who is an important tool for the war, is highly insignificant to Death in the grand scheme of the universe, and he (like Pestilence) openly despises Lucifer, who has him under his control through the use of a binding spell. In a similar manner to Gabriel, Death compares Lucifer to a spoiled, bratty child throwing a tantrum, and despises the fact he is using Death as a weapon.
Powers and Abilities
The Four Horsemen are among the most powerful entities in existence, however they require their rings to channel their powers through their physical forms. Without their rings, they are rendered without power in their physical form, except for teleportation.
- Indestructability - While Horsemen can take damage in their human forms, they cannot be destroyed so long as their respective attributes exist.
- Immortality - The horsemen exist so long as their respective attributes (War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death) exist. Death himself, though, will presumably never die, because his attribute (death) will never cease to be possible.
- Invisibility - The horsemen are naturally invisible, unless they choose to take form.
- Manifestation - The horsemen can take on any human form they so desire.
- Superhuman Stamina - The horsemen don't possess the capacity to tire, and furthermore, do not require food, water, sleep, or oxygen to sustain themselves. Never the less, Death seamed to enjoy eating "cheap food" as dean puts it.
- Telekinesis - The horsemen can manipulate physical matter through power of will.
- Teleportation - The horsemen can travel from place to place instantly, without occupying the space in between.
- Illusion Casting - War could create illusions and hallucinations, which drove people to violence.
- Super Strength - War can exert tremendous physical force.
- Telepathy - War can read the thoughts of other beings.
- Demonic Exorcism - Famine could forcibly remove a demon from its vessel.
- Gluttony Augmentation - Famine could enhance the sense of hunger in other beings, causing them to seek whatever it is they crave most until it resulted in their destruction.
- Insatiable Hunger - As the embodiment of hunger, he constantly craved sustenance. This gave him the ability to devour pretty much anything - even the essences of demons and human souls.
- Soul Reading - Famine can determine the state of a soul.
- Telepathy - Famine was able to enter Dean's subconscious, telling him he was "empty inside."
- Biokinesis - Pestilence can create, manipulate, and control diseases. He can also cause instantaneous illness in another being.
- Necrokinesis - He can cause instant death in anyone or anything. He once caused a man to collapse after simply brushing shoulders with him.
- Nigh-Omniscience - Death has an awareness of the universe that exceeds that of the archangels, and is only rivaled by God.
- Nigh-Omnipotence - Death has nearly unlimited power. He was even able to alter the cosmos to cause an eclipse.
- Resurrection - Death can bring any being he chooses back to life. He even retrieved Sam's soul from Lucifer's Cage, without being hindered by the supernatural barriers strong enough to keep Michael and Lucifer locked inside. He could even bring multiple people back to life just with his passing.
- Weather Manipulation - It is heavily implied that Death is responsible for the Great Flood of Genesis 6. He was also going to wipe out Chicago with a massive storm when Dean found him.
- War: A cherry red 2009 Ford Mustang
- Famine: A black Cadillac Escalade
- Pestilence: A green Hornet Wagon
- Death: A pale grey 1959 Cadillac Series 62
- Titus Welliver, who plays War, was the Man in Black in the TV show Lost, where he was the brother of Jacob (played by Mark Pelligrino, who plays Lucifer) and they both have a connection in Supernatural as well as in Lost with Pelligrino, playing Lucifer, controlling Welliver, as War.
- Death seems to be the only Horseman who is actually killed, the others were depowered.