Sam and Dean run into a small town where the citizens know how to fight demons and a "prophet" has a close personal connection with angels. Or does she? After Cas and Dean's faith takes a vacation, they vent their frustrations out in very different ways. And by the end of the hour, Dean follows his heart in a very surprising way.
"99 Problems" starts out with Dean and Sam being chased in the Impala which is just an awesome way to start out any episode. Sam and Dean seem slightly injured. The car is forced to stop and when the brothers try to get away, demons grab them. The brothers are fortunately saved by some people wielding a fire hose full of holy water. This rescue takes Sam and Dean by complete surprise. They're used to having to explain demons to people, but this time around they're having the villainous supernatural beings explained to them. These townsfolk take Sam and Dean back to their church where everybody's got a gun. Even the preacher is in on the hunting business. Sam and Dean learn their reputation precedes them when a young woman tells them she talks to angels. She knows almost everything about the siblings. Dean guesses she's a prophet.
Dean's pessimism creeps his way into a conversation with Sam. He's admiring these people for their willingness to fight even though they're going to die. Meanwhile, Sam wants to know "what happened to us saving them?" Come on, Sam, you need to bring Dean back around to your way of thinking. Before Dean can answer Leah gets another vision. There are a lot of demons gathered five miles from the town so naturally the brothers volunteer to help out. Much stabbing, shooting, holy watering and exorcising ensues and is it just me or has the show really upped its action quotient lately? I assume this is all apocalypse-related. I'm loving it by the way. The demon-hunting squad takes care of the evil ones pretty quickly and efficiently which is a very cool thing. What's not cool is Dylan gets killed after choosing to stay with Sam and Dean to celebrate their big win. Nothing ever goes right for those boys.
Dylan's mom blames Dean and Sam. Leah shares another vision with the town: Dylan will live again. On judgment day he will be resurrected and they'll be together again. This lady sounds nuts. She tells them the angels have chosen them and "they will be given paradise on Earth" all they have to do is follow the angels' commandments. Those commandments include "no drinking, no gambling and no premarital sex." This should be Dean's worst nightmare but the oldest Winchester brother just takes it in stride. This is so not him right now. He's acting weird. He searches out Leah and he wants details on what the angels have been telling her. She says they will win and they will be given paradise. Dean doesn't see things as bright and shiny and full of rainbows: "Must be nice to be chosen." "Well, Dean, you're chosen." "More like cursed." Leah "empathizes" with Dean wondering how it must be hard to be the vessel of angel while at the same time having no hope.
Sam heads to the bar where he and the owner illegally share a drink. Wow, Sam tells the disbelieving bar owner he truly does have faith but he's "pretty sure God stopped caring a long time ago." Once he gets back to the hotel Sam tells Dean that not only are they cut off from booze, women and gambling, they are cut off from all ties to the world including cell phones and the internet. For Sam, that's his worst nightmare, right? While Sam is upset that the town has turned into some sort of fundamentalist commune, Dean doesn't seem to give a damn about anything. Sam just wants to get a rise out of Dean, but he isn't budging and Sam's had it.
"You can't do this to me. I got one thing, one thing keeping me going. You thing you're the only one white knuckling it here, Dean? I can't count on anyone else. And I can't do this alone."
I totally understand that Dean's been through hell (literally) and he's lost all faith. It's just hard to see him not have any fight in him. He's always been about the fight. He's always been about not letting all the crap they deal with get to him. I wonder if this is where Michael wants Dean to be, this empty shell of a man. Maybe that'll make it easier for him to say yes to becoming his vessel. Sam may also be closer to becoming Lucifer's vessel because if he can't count on Dean, there's one less buffer between him and life as Hell's numero uno.
Leah's distraught and running to her preacher dad where she tells him and the town the angels are angry with them because some of the townspeople aren't adhering to the Have No Fun Commandments. The mob heads over to the bar where they attack the owner and try to run him out of town. When he won't go quietly, Dylan's mom shoots him dead because only believers are allowed to exist in Blue Earth.
Meanwhile, Cas shows up at Sam and Dean's hotel room and he's stinking drunk. Poor Cas, he's as bad off as Dean is and believe it or not he's even crankier. Sam fills him in on Leah the prophet only not surprisingly, Cas reveals Leah's no prophet at all. She's actually "the whore of Babylon." The whore is "a being that rises when Lucifer walks the earth. And she shall come bearing false prophecy." Her endgame is to condemn as many souls to hell as possible. Team Free Will (TFW) enlists the help of Pastor Gideon to kill the whore posing as his daughter.
Cas is really down on himself, isn't he? I like the conversation he and Dean have about deadbeat dads. These two have got to pick themselves up especially since elsewhere, the "prophet" is having the townspeople gather the so-called "sinners" and are rounding them up in the storage unit where she's going to burn them alive. People are so freakin' gullible aren't they? TFW complete with Pastor David arrives to try and kill the big bad but instead of the meat suit's dad doing the killing deed, it's Dean. What in the world does this mean? It has to be a servant of God who offs the whore. By the end of the episode, it seems like Dean's made the decision to accept life as Michael's vessel. Oh, Dean.
Back in the hotel room, Cas is hurting and Sam is taking care of the pastor. Dean comes up with some excuse to go outside then takes off in his trusty Impala. Where does he go? The man goes to see Lisa. Lisa from Season 3! We saw her in the recap and so we knew something that had to do with her was coming. Remember when Dean saw her in his dreams in "Dream a Little Dream of Me?" Well we wondered what in the world that vision meant and now Dean has finally told us as he knocks at Lisa's door in a scene eerily reminiscent when they reconnected a couple of years ago:
"Look, I have no illusions, OK? I know the life that I live. I know how that's going to end for me. Whatever, I'm OK with that. But I wanted you to know that when I do picture myself happy it's with you and the kid."
It's usually Sam who walks away or runs away so wow to Dean being the one to make a quick getaway. I'm wondering what you guys all think. Do you believe what he said to Lisa? I still think Ben is his but that's a wish I've had since Season 3. I like Lisa, but is what happened too out of the blue? I don't care I'm totally buying the Kool-Aid on this one. I've been hoping Dean would do something for himself and this is it. I wish it didn't have to be in such a sad way, or even right now, but I'm glad he made that giant step. Too bad he's pretty sure he's going to die. And what "arrangements" is he making for Lisa and Ben? "99 Problems" is a solid episode with either an "OMG" or a "What the Hell" ending depending on your perspective. I'm pretty sure what went down is going to be controversial because many fans don't feel love stories should be given any time of day in this universe. After all, this is a show about two brothers hunting demons and trying to stop the apocalypse. I kind of like knowing there's someone out there that's not part of Dean's family that thinks so well of him and maybe even loves him. I'm anxious to find out how Cas is going to figure out a way to find his faith. And I'm also anxious to find out how Sam is going to react now that Dean has taken baby steps away from his "all family all the time" existence.
And as for the future, even though I have read the synopsis to "Point of No Return," Supernatural's milestone 100th episode, I decided against watching the previews. I just want to be surprised so I'm trying to stay away from spoilers. So please if/when you talk about it in the comments, make sure everyone knows a spoiler's coming so those that choose to can avoid it like well maybe not the plague, more like the Croatoan virus. Just a little Supernatural humor to tide you guys over until then.
"99 Problems" is the title of a Jay-Z tune. I really like the use of this title for this 99th episode. One thing: Sam and Dean seem to have way more than 99 problems to deal with. Just saying...
Right off the bat I almost freaked out because in the recap was Lisa and Ben from Season 3's "The Kids are Alright." The use of those two had me instantly intrigued.
Michael Shanks guest stars in "99 Problems." Shanks is a god to the sci fi crowd. Of course he's best known as Daniel Jackson from the Stargate franchise of programming. And earlier this year he played the winged superhero Hawkman in Smallville's awesome epic known as "Absolute Justice."
I also recognized Larry Poindexter. This guy's one of those character actors where you recognize his face because he's been in almost everything but you just can't quite pinpoint where you've seen him. A quick look at his extensive credits and I think I remember him most from the short-lived series Duet as well as his two-episode guest starring stints on Melrose Place and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It was just a matter of time before he popped up on Supernatural. Usually he plays tools, but this time around he got to play a good guy preacher. That's so great. I felt sorry for the pastor; he lost his daughter; saw the town go nuts and is probably having his own struggle of faith right about now.
NCIS fans, the actress who played Leah Gideon was in the episode called "Heartland," which is the one where Gibbs went back home to Stillwater.
Sam and Dean are in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Isn't that where Pastor Jim lived? Isn't that where Pastor Jim died? Was there any mention of this?
Anybody catch the Nightmare on Elm Street trailers with Supernatural's first Ruby Katie Cassidy? Anybody going to see that movie?
Leah's last name is Gideon, which is perfect for a so-called prophet. In real life, Gideons International is a Protestant organization known for distributing the Bible around the world. Those bibles are often the ones you find in motels and hotels, so very appropriate for this Supernatural universe.
I don't know what's funnier: the fact that Castiel has voice mail or that he tried to have a conversation with the voice mail greeting recording. Seriously, Misha Collins is getting better and better. He was on fire in this episode. Every drunk line he delivered perfectly and with just the right amount of deadpan, sarcasm and despair. This show just knows how to squeeze all the humor it can out of the apocalypse and I love this aspect lots.
"Cause you're not the first prophet we've met, but you are the cutest."
"I don't understand. Why...why do you want me to say my name? "
"Yeah, I left him a message. I think."
"Want to go to church?" "You know me, downright pious."
"I guess that's what it's like, huh?" "What?" "To have back up."
"Where you been?" "Drinking." "Rebel."
"I found a liquor store." "And?" "And I drank it!"
"You OK?" "Don't ask stupid questions. Now tell me what you need."
"Where the hell have you been?" "On a bender."
"For starters, Leah's not a real prophet." "What is she exactly?" "The whore!" "Wow, Cas, tell us what you really think."
"And the Enochian exorcism?" "Fake. It actually means 'you uh breed with the mouth of a goat.' It's funnier in Enochian."
"A whore can only be killed by a true servant of heaven." "Servant like..." "Not you, or me. Sam of course is an abomination."
"I'm a big expert on deadbeat dads so yeah I get it. I know how you feel." "How do you manage it?" "On a good day you get to kill a whore."
Countdown to 100th episode
Make sure to vote for your favorite Supernatural episode here.
And right here in this blog I want to know what your favorite season is and why. For me, it's tough to choose between Season 2 and Season 4 but I'm going to go with Season 4. I love the introduction of the angels mainly because I never thought it was going to happen. And it doesn't hurt that said introduction included the awesome debut of a specific heavenly creature named Castiel. I love Cas' dealings with the Winchester brothers.
So what did you think of the episode? What did you think of Dean's road trip to Lisa? Do you think Lisa's the love of his life? Do you think his going to see Lisa was even appropriate to the story?